The Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has said that the sharp increase in cotton yarn prices by almost 20 per cent has hit hard the export-oriented value-added textile sector. Newly-elected Senior Vice Chairman of PRGMEA (North Zone), Sheikh Luqman Amin said recently that the unprecedented surge in cotton yarn rates during the cotton crop season is not understandable, as the prices are usually at the lowest ambit these days. He said the cotton yarn prices have increased by around 20 per cent to Rs. 12,000 per bag of 100 pounds from Rs. 8,000 due to cartelization of local manufacturers who are holding the stock to create artificial shortage. The PRGMEA Senior Vice Chairman asked the government to take preventive measures, as the export target would not be achieved due to high energy cost and discriminating import duties on industry raw material. He appealed the government to abolish additional regulatory duty on cotton yarn that should be imported freely from anywhere.