India ends cotton export restrictions

India on Monday ended recent restrictions on cotton exports, six weeks after partially reversing a ban it had imposed on overseas sales.

India, the world's second-largest producer of cotton, last month stopped all exports of the crop, saying it wanted to protect supplies for domestic mills.

After outrage from Indian cotton farmers, the government eased the ban just one week later but stipulated that no new export registrations would be made to limit shipments.

Commerce and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma said on Monday the restrictions had now been waived.

"A decision has been taken to remove suspension of cotton exports registration (and) the registration of cotton exports will be allowed by the government," he told reporters in New Delhi.

The U-turns over cotton export policy have been seen as one example of the Indian government's poor decision-making and communication in recent years.

In a major policy reversal late last year, the government unveiled and then withdrew retail sector reforms that would have allowed foreign supermarket chains to open stores in India.

When the cotton export ban was first announced on March 5, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said he knew nothing about it before the announcement.

Experts say India imposed the ban because cotton exports overshot official estimates and the government felt the need to build up buffer stock.

The country has already shipped a record 9.5 million bales in the first five months of 2011-12 marketing year that runs from October to September.

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