India yesterday eased the ban on cotton exports imposed on Monday, saying cotton shipments which had been finalised by 4 March could go ahead. This announcement came even as ministers met to review the ban.
The move reportedly follows opposition to the total ban from agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and chief ministers of cotton growing states, particularly Maharashtra and Gujarat, who argued it would hurt farmers. Pawar also said his ministry was not consulted about the decision.
"We welcome the move," said Dhiren Seth, president of the Cotton Association of India. However shipments under the new ruling are expected to be small. Both Indian and international cotton prices were largely unaffected by the announcement.
The ban on cotton exports announced Monday, aimed at ensuring sufficient domestic supplies and stable prices, was the second in less than two years; and came amid growing demand from China.
A group of ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee met today to review the cotton export ban.
Commerce and textiles minister Anand Sharma said after the meeting, "Talks remained inconclusive and further discussion is required. The meeting can continue take tomorrow."