Cotton export ban partly eased


New Delhi, March 9: The ban on cotton export was partially eased today with the commerce ministry allowing the shipment of the fibre cleared by customs till March 4, a day before the restriction was imposed.

“Consignments for which Let Export Orders (LEOs) have been issued till 2400 hours on Sunday, March 4, 2012, will be outside the purview of the notification dated March 5 regarding a ban on cotton exports,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a circular.

The DGFT had issued a notification on March 5 banning cotton exports. It had also prohibited export against registration certificates already issued. An exporter must register the shipment quantity with the government and obtain customs clearance before shipping cargo.

“The government may allow some shipments to go ahead as up to 2.5 million bales of cotton have been registered for exports,” SMC Investments and Advisors said.

Dhiren N. Sheth, president of the Cotton Association of India said, “This (DGFT circular) is a welcome step from the government and this will allow export consignments which have been cleared by the customs authorities.

However, the quantum of export that would benefit would be only several hundred thousand bales,” Sheth said.

The ministerial panel meeting on the cotton ban headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee remained inconclusive as the ministers felt more discussion were needed before the ban could be lifted.

“Talks remained inconclusive and further discussion is required. The meeting can place take tomorrow,” commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said.

However, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar told PTI that “we are contemplating lifting the ban on cotton exports”.

The ban was imposed on cotton exports apprehending a shortfall in the domestic market and hoarding in warehouses abroad.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh feels India’s ban on cotton export is against global trade norms and will affect Bangladesh’s textiles industry.

“India imposed a ban on export of a main raw material leaving aside trade rules and regulations. We think it (ban) is against the norms of international trade,” Bangladesh commerce secretary M. Ghulam Hossain said.