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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Wednesday allowed the private sector to import 0.5 million tonnes of white sugar from India, Finance Minister Hammad Azhar said.

Hammad Azhar, the newly-appointed minister of finance, has announced to reopen trade activities with neighbouring country India, besides announcing decrease in petroleum prices to provide relief to public.

Addressing his maiden press conference as finance minister, he said that 500,000 tonnes of sugar will be imported from India, adding that cotton will also be imported.

The minister said sugar trade was being re-opened with India this year because of the difference in prices in the neighbouring country.

"We have allowed the import of sugar but in the rest of the world too, sugar prices are high because of which imports are not possible. But in our neighbouring country, India, the prices of sugar are much less as compared to Pakistan so we have decided to reopen sugar trade with India up to 0.5 million tonnes for the private sector."

The government has decided to decrease petrol price by Rs1.5 per litre and diesel price by Rs3/ litre for first half of the next month.

Azhar said that the wheat support price has been fixed at Rs1,800 per 40kg.