KARACHI: Government of Pakistan is considering to remove custom duty, additional custom duty and sales tax on import of cotton with a view to facilitate export oriented value added textile sector. The second mini-budget of the PTI goverment is expected in end January, and the Customs tariff is likely to be revised. Analysts believe duties could be raised on non-essential and luxury goods while duties would be reduced/removed for raw materials particularly for export oriented industry. The meeting of Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) with Finance Minister Asad Umar in chair had a detailed discussion on the proposal of Textile Division regarding withdrawal of custom duty, additional custom duty and sales tax on import of cotton. The proposal is aimed at facilitating the import of cotton to bridge the demand and supply gap in the country, thereby helping out the textile industry, especially the export segment. Pakistan's export have been under-performing for the last few years, even successive rounds of PKR depreciation have failed to boost exports. Industry is of the view that PKR depreciation wasn't helping as over 70 percent of the input was imported. Export oriented industry says that stuck up refund claims and expensive and yet unavailability of utilities were hurting exports. Textile sector accounts for more than 50 percent of Pakistan's total exports, which are getting uncompetitive by day to Vietnam, India, Bangladesh and Turkey due to high cost of production. Experts have long been suggesting that the country should tap unconventional markets and promote export of unconventional products instead of relying on textile sector only. ECC noted that detailed trade and revenue related data was required, which was not made part of the Textile Division's proposal. The relevant ministries were directed to fill the data gaps so that an informed decision could be taken in the matter. The Ministry of Industries & Production shared with the meeting progress on the plan of action currently being formulated by a specially constituted experts group, suggesting viable options to revitalize the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). The committee directed that the plan of action should be prepared in a cohesive manner, taking on board the PSM Board of Directors/management and submitted for final approval as per the given timelines.