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Cotton exports possible in case of surplus: Sharma

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Notwithstanding lifting of ban on cotton exports, Commerce Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma today said India will not be able to ship the natural fibre abroad unless it has surplus.

"We will be in a position to export (cotton), when we have that surplus again," he said at an IMF-ICRIER event here.

On March 5, the Commerce Ministry had imposed the ban on cotton exports on evidence of hoarding in warehouses abroad and shortage in the domestic market.

Following intense pressure from political parties, it had to lift the prohibition in a week's time.

But the government has allowed cotton exports of only registered contracts made till March 4 after scrutinisation and revalidation and no fresh registration of contracts would be allowed till further orders.

Besides, Sharma said that during the first four months of the season (October to September) the country has exceeded the exportable surplus.

India, which is the second largest producer of cotton in the world, had issued registrations certificates for 130 lakh bales (170 kg each) of cotton before the prohibition and out of that 95 lakh bales were shipped.

Stating that the natural fibre arrivals would be low after March, Sharma said, "We have a cotton textiles industry.  We cannot have a situation where there is no value-addition."

India is expected to produce 340 lakh bales of the natural fibre in the 2011-12 season.

Textile mills consumption is estimated at 216 lakh bales for the current season.

The decision to ban cotton exports was criticised by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

Besides, some chief ministers, including those from Congress-ruled Maharashtra and BJP-ruled Gujarat, had conveyed their resentment over the move, stating it would hurt farmers.

First Published: Tue, March 20 2012. 18:49 IST