China's booming textile industry continues to set records for importing cotton which has already surpassed last year's record.
As of August, China imported 3.03 million tons of cotton, up from the 2.57 million tons that were imported in all of last year, said Bi Jingquan, vice minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), on Thursday.
China's cotton producers supply almost two thirds of the country's needs. Last year, China produced 5.7 million tons of cotton and the NDRC predicts that figure will grow 10.5 percent. This year 5.27 million hectares have been planted to cotton, an increase of 200,000 hectares, according to data of the National Bureau of Statistics.
China's cotton imports have been on rise since 2002. The NDRC says in 2002 China imported only 180,000 tons. The rapid rise in imports started after China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 and the quotas on textiles were abolished last year, said Bi.
The industry exported 115 billion U.S. dollars worth of textiles last year, up 20.6 percent over 2004.
The NDRC, says the country needs to adopt measures to support domestic cotton production to avoid big price fluctuations.
(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2006)