China bought from abroad 2.04 million tons of cotton for 2.83 billion U.S. dollars in the first 10 months of this year, down 37.3 percent and 34.8 percent respectively from the same period of last year.
Customs sources said the United States and India were two leading suppliers, who combined to account for 70.8 percent of China's total arrivals.
Between January and October, China imported 1.02 million tons of cotton from the United States, down 37.7 percent, and 424,000 tons from India, down 11.1 percent.
The 10-month period saw China's state-owned enterprises buy 622,000 tons of cotton from abroad, down 56 percent, and private and foreign-funded companies import 482,000 tons and 431,000 tons, down 19.6 percent and 17.5 percent respectively.
The sources ascribed the import decline to efforts to protect sale of domestically produced cotton.
This year China postponed distribution of import quota till the time when more than half of domestically-yielded cotton were sold out.
In mid July, the government released 300,000 tons of cotton in stock to ease short supply nationwide, a move conducive to mitigating the nation's reliance on imports.
Meanwhile, the government earmarked 500 million yuan (67.6 million U.S. dollars) as subsidies for cotton growers to buy improved seeds, in a bid to ensure cotton production at home, the sources added.
(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2007)