India promises regular cotton supply

India has assured Bangladesh of supplying 2 million bales of raw cotton every year irrespective of any restrictions on its export of the commodity in future.Indian Textiles Minster K Sambasiva Rao made the promise at a meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Abdul Latif Siddique in New Delhi on Monday, according to a report of Indian newspaper, the Hindu.

Following the meeting, Rao told a press conference: “In 2013-14 cotton season, I have assured Bangladesh that the country’s textile mills would not have any difficulties in sourcing cotton from India.”

The two sides discussed a cotton purchase agreement at the meeting.

According to the report, an agreement was, however, yet to be reached on whether the cotton purchase pact would be business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-government (B2G).

It said India wanted it to be a B2G arrangement with public sector Cotton Corporation of India canalising the exports but Bangladesh preferred a B2B deal.

An Indian textiles ministry official was quoted as telling the Hindu: “Bangladesh feels that it is cheaper to buy it from a private seller rather than a government agency and it also takes less time.”

The report said India’s argument was that when there was a ban on exports of the commodity in the country, the only feasible way to export it would be through a canalising agency.

Bangladesh wanted to sign a cotton purchase agreement with India after Delhi imposed a temporary ban on its exports in March last year.

At the Monday meeting, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on textile sector collaboration that would facilitate trade through a joint working group.

According to the report, the group will develop collaborations between fashion institutes, skill building institutions and research institutions of the two countries.