India, the second largest producer of cotton, yesterday lifted a ban on cotton export, at a time when Bangladesh is lobbying with Uzbekistan to strike a deal to ensure smooth supply for local spinners.
Bangladesh, which is fully dependent on imported cotton, went for an alternative to Indian as the neighbouring country has been frequently imposing ban on the export of the item for the last two years.
A delegation led by Commerce Secretary Ghulam Hussain is already scheduled to leave for Uzbekistan on May 4 to seek a state-level deal to reduce dependence on India.
India came up with the restriction several times last year and this year. The latest one came on March 5 mainly to build up the country’s domestic stocks.
However, Bangladeshi spinners welcomed the yesterday’s decision.
“The dependence on Indian cotton is increasing due to the country’s geographical proximity. It takes shorter lead-time if we import cotton from India. Of course, the latest move is a positive sign for us,” said Jahangir Alamin, president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association.
Production in the local spinning sub-sector faces troubles due the frequent changes in India’s decision.
This time India changed its decision amid protests from its traders and on forecast of a higher yield, said a Bloomberg report, quoting Commerce Minister of India Anand Sharma yesterday.
Sharma said the traders can register for fresh shipment contracts within a day or two.
Sharma told this to journalists in New Delhi after a meeting of a panel of ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, according to the Bloomberg report.
Another reason for the previous ban was that exports surged 9.5 million bales (a bale weighs 170 kilograms or 375 pounds), the quantity that surpassed government estimates.
“Based on the revised estimates of cotton production by the Cotton Advisory Board as well as the agriculture ministry, we have decided to remove the suspension on registration of cotton exports,” Bloomberg quoted Sharma as saying.
Bangladesh imported more than 39.39 lakh bales of cotton in the year through June 2011, according to data from the commerce ministry.
Of the total amount, 41.82 percent was imported from India, 35.31 percent from Uzbekistan and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, 7.68 percent from Africa (East and West) and 15.19 percent from other countries, including the US, Australia, Pakistan and China.