Mills call for lifting import duty on cotton

Textile mills have reiterated their demand to remove the import duty on cotton as prices of domestic cotton continue to increase.

Chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association Ravi Sam told The Hindu that the prices of cotton stood at ₹74,000 a candy on January 4 and was ₹77,000 a candy now. It was about ₹51,500 a candy in April last year. Cotton yarn price, for the variety used widely by the hosiery sector, stood at ₹331 a kg in April, 2021 and was currently ₹401 a kg.

The current price of Indian cotton was 60% to 70% higher than the Minimum Support Price and Indian cotton prices were higher than international prices. Buyers in Europe were saying that they were able to to get lower quotes compared with Indian suppliers for several textile items, he said.

“Indian cotton price is quoted ₹10 to ₹15 a kg higher than the international price for similar quality, making the yarn, fabric, garments and made-ups exporters uncompetitive,” he said.

Just about 140 lakh bales have come into the market so far this season (October 2021 to September 2022) though the usual arrivals by now will be almost 200 lakh bales. The textile industry is also staring at shortage in availability of quality cotton.

Apart from removing the import duty on cotton, the government should also bring in measures to monitor cotton trade on the MCX and NCDEX to avoid speculation, he added.

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