The Cotton-4 (C-4), the main four cotton producing countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali (C4) in Africa, which account for about 40 percent of the continentâ€™s raw cotton output. have raised concerns over subsidies and trade policies after the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) said in its 2014-15 outlook that world cotton trade could shrink significantly this year and probably in years to come.
African countries have gone to WTO to seek information about trade policies; Indiaâ€™s cotton subsidies under scanner.
Global cotton exports have seen a decline this year mainly due to policy changes in China, the worldâ€™s largest cotton importer. After aggressive purchases in recent years, China has said that it will restrict cotton imports until domestic cotton reserves see a significant decline. China also says that restrictions on textile imports by developed countries have led to lower production in China.
According to the ICAC, China imported around 5.4 million tonnes of cotton in 2011-12 (about 50% of total global imports), but the countryâ€™s cotton imports are expected to decline to 2 million tonnes in 2014-15, resulting in a 20% decline in global cotton trade .
Meanwhile, global ending stocks of cotton are expected to reach a record high of around 21.6 million tonnes in 2014-15, compared to around 8.6 million tonnes of stocks in 2009-10, and the projected total global exports of around 7.9 million tonnes in 2014-15.
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