Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region exported 229,000 tons of raw cotton, valued at $237m, in 2000, up 108.6 per cent and 90.3 per cent respectively from 1999, Asia Pulse reported.

Such exports made up 19.7 per cent of the region's total foreign trade export in the year. Raw cotton has become the region's top staple export product.

The sharp increase of raw cotton export is attributable to the implementation of a subsidy for Xinjiang-grown cotton starting from the end of 1998. Based on the same cotton prices, the region signed a number of forward contracts for raw cotton export.

Following this, cotton prices soared sharply on the international market in 1999, and the comparatively low forward prices for raw cotton export for which the region signed spurred the sharp increase of exports.

The main destinations of China's raw cotton are Indonesia, Thailand, the Republic of Korea and Malaysia.