India: Government asks Missions to explore avenues for cotton exports

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NEW DELHI: The Textiles Ministry has asked high commissions and embassies in countries, including Indonesia and Thailand, to explore possibilities of increasing cotton exports, Parliament was informed today.

The move assumes significance as India’s cotton exports have declined significantly and it has impacted prices in the domestic market.

Exports of raw cotton during April-February 2015 have declined by 41.32 per cent in quantity terms and 46.6 per cent in value terms as compared to same period 2013-14.

“For safeguarding the interests of cotton growers in general and disposal of cotton to be procured under the MSP (minimum support price) operations in particular, Textiles Ministry has written to Indian High Commissions/Embassies in cotton deficit countries like Bangaladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, to explore new avenues for export of cotton for stabilising cotton prices in India,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply.

As exports account for a substantial share of India’s production of cotton, the decline in exports has resulted in a surplus for the domestic market and has impacted the cotton growers, she said in the reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Cotton Corporation of India has undertaken large MSP operations in all cotton growing states, she said.

As per the second advance estimates of Ministry of Agriculture, India’s cotton production during 2014-15 was 351.52 lakh bales (of 170 kg each) as compared to 359.02 lakh bales in 2013-14 and 356.02 lakh bales in 2012-13.

India is the world’s second-biggest producer of cotton. China is the top cotton export market for India, followed by Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The prices are declining because of a plunge in exports to its biggest market, China, which had changed its policy on cotton imports.

Replying to a separate question on a India-EU free trade agreement, she said India has proposed to “re-energise” the the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).

Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposed BTIA have missed several timelines due to differences over several crucial issues like data secure status and duty cuts on goods.

– India Time

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