Xinjiang cotton growers buoyant as prices rise

By CUI JIA in Aksu | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-06 07:31
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Cotton farmers use a drone for their work in Kashgar. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao/China Daily]

In January, the United States banned imports of all cotton products from Xinjiang, including raw fibers, apparel and textiles, over "forced labor" concerns. Some major global textile and clothing giants, including H&M and Nike, also said they had decided not to source cotton from the region over alleged human rights violations.

After hearing this news, Ouyang, 57, thought it would have a devastating impact on Xinjiang cotton and growers, but he is glad to have been proved wrong.

"The region's cotton is in high demand this year in domestic and international markets. The boycott has actually been a good advertisement for quality Xinjiang cotton," Ouyang said.

While production and exports in key cotton-producing countries worldwide, including India, have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, production in Xinjiang remains stable thanks to the region's effective measures to control the disease, he said.

Chinese consumers' support for domestic textiles and major clothing brands using Xinjiang cotton has also boosted sales of the region's cotton products, meaning that manufacturers are willing to source more supplies from the region, Ouyang added.

"The boycott has had little impact on Xinjiang's cotton market. The US choosing not to use Xinjiang cotton is that country's loss, it won't affect our business," he said.

The cooperative, which has some 1,016 hectares of cotton plantations and is located in Aksu prefecture in southern Xinjiang, is expected to harvest 600 to 700 tons more cotton this year compared with the previous season, which was from the end of October to early November.

The price of Xinjiang lint cotton futures rose to more than 17,000 yuan ($2,630) a ton last month, from 14,000 yuan a year earlier, Ouyang said. "No matter how much effort some Western countries put into slandering Xinjiang cotton, they cannot change the global demand for quality cotton," he said.

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