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China plans to attain self-sufficiency in cotton supply
Jun '11
China plans to attain self-sufficiency in cotton supply in the long-run, in spite of an expected rise in its cotton imports, according to Liu Xiaonan, Deputy Chief at the National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) Economic and Trade Department.

While speaking at a Cotton Conference in Dalian, Mr. Liu stated that the demand-supply gap of cotton in China is a lasting trend, and the shortfall is likely to rise further as more cotton is imported to meet the country's growing textile export demand.

Mr. Liu stated that China would first strive to fulfill its domestic demand for cotton and would then if needed, look to import more of the crop to meet the demand of the export processors.

Mr. Fang Yan, Deputy Chief at NDRC's Rural Economy Department, referring to the statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that by 2015, China's demand for cotton is likely to reach 13 million tons.

He said that it is not easy to improve the country's cotton production, which has been declining since 2008. Last year too, it dropped by 6.9 percent to 5.96 million tons.

This drop, to some extent, can be attributed to the preference of the farmers to sow grains rather than cotton. It is because the Government offers higher subsidies on grains, and also grain plantation is less labour intensive than cotton.

Cotton imports by China constitute around 36 percent of the world cotton trade, with textile export material constituting a larger part of these imports, Jiang Fan, Deputy Chief of the Foreign Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce said.

China's textile industry has been hit by major fluctuations in cotton prices since the second-half of 2010, which has even led some overseas cotton sellers to default this year on contracts.

Last month, China imported around 145,000 tons of cotton, which reflected a decline of 31 percent from the previous month and a year-on-year fall of 27 percent.

During the first three quarters of the 2010-11 crop season that began in September 2010, the country imported 2.09 million tons of cotton. At the start of the current year, the industry experts had estimated the country's total imports for the crop year to exceed three million tons.

Editor's note-
Although the cotton supply being in deficit compare to the domestic demand, China has been able to become a major exporter of textiles. Thus, it has set a good example for other countries to enumerate. Now, it is trying to set another example by planning to become self-sufficient in cotton production, which would, in turn, boost its textile exports further.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - China

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