Trade eyes more cotton imports from Australia

India has already exhausted the 51,000-tonnes quota of duty-free Australian cotton imports for 2023

May 16, 2023 10:00 pm | Updated 10:00 pm IST

India has exhausted the 51,000-tonnes quota of duty-free Australian cotton imports for 2023 and if the prices are at the right level, there is scope for more imports, according to a section of the cotton trade.

A four-member delegation from Australian Cotton Shippers Association is visiting textile clusters in India, including Coimbatore, to reconnect with cotton stakeholders here.

Cliff White, who is part of the delegation, said that apart from the 51,000-tonnes quota for 2023, there is a small quantity that is imported by India with duty. “If the Indian cotton crop is small, there is scope for more imports,” he observed.

According to Nishanth A. Asher, secretary of the Indian Cotton Federation, the speciality nature of the Australian cotton fibre offers potential for higher imports provided the prices are at the right level.

Some of the textile industry associations have also appealed to the government to increase the quota for duty-free cotton imports from Australia.

John Southwell, Australia’s Trade and Investment Commissioner for food, agriculture and consumer goods in India, told The Hindu that the delegation’s visit was aimed at reconnecting with cotton stakeholders in the country, giving updates on the Australian cotton sector, and engaging and understanding how Australian cotton could contribute further to the Indian economy.

Under the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, India imports 51,000 tonnes of Australian cotton duty free. It can also export textile and clothing duty-free to Australia, he said.

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