China has voiced strong objections to New Delhi's moves to ban exports of cotton, describing the measures as an ‘irresponsible act' that could cause huge losses to Chinese importers and warning that the moves were “in violation of international cotton trade” rules.

The official China Cotton Association (CCA) said in a statement it was strongly protesting the ban, which had triggered heated debate following its March 5 announcement. The move is set to be reviewed by a Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting on Friday after objections were raised by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and at least two chief ministers.

“An action like this has already disturbed the international cotton trade order seriously, and this irresponsible act caused a large number of registered contracts [to] cease to be effective,” the CCA said in a statement issued on behalf of the Chinese cotton and textile industry. It said it had formally protested the move in a letter to the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The CCA said China had become the largest cotton importer from India, but it warned that a smooth trade relationship had become increasingly strained following the earlier restrictions on exports that were announced in 2010.

“Since the year 2010, consecutive cotton export restriction policies from the Indian government have not only caused Chinese firms large and undeserved financial losses, but also violated international cotton trade order,” the CCA said, adding that the moves would be a ‘double loss' by also hurting Indian cotton farmers — a concern that has also been voiced by some groups in India.

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