Industry urges easing US cotton import Also seeks duty concession on RMG made from American cotton

Bangladesh spinners requested authorities concerned to address the barriers they face in importing cotton from the United States for smooth supply of the main raw material used in apparel manufacturing, as industry prospects are flourishing.

They also urged the US government to grant duty concession on RMG products made from US cotton in order to enhance the bilateral trade.

“The USA has always maintained its cotton quality, resulting in no complaints,” Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) president Mohammad Ali Khokon said Thursday while making the twin calls about facilitating the clothing trade-Bangladesh’s main export-earner.

The only limitation faced in importing US cotton by the Bangladeshi spinners is its fumigation at Chittagong seaport, which is not required for the cotton imported from other countries.

He requests the government, USDA, Cotton Council International (CCI) and Bangladesh Cotton Association (BCA) to look into the matter seriously.

He was speaking at the celebration event of ‘World Cotton Day’ with the theme ‘cotton for good’, jointly organised by BCA and CCI at Dhaka Club in the capital city.

Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi was present as chief guest. US ambassador in Bangladesh Earl R. Miller and Brazilian ambassador Joao Tabajara de Oliveira Junior were also present.

BCA president Sultan Riaz Chowdhury made welcome speech while CCI, USA, country representative Ali Arsalan and the programme chair, Mohammad Ayub, presented two keynote papers.

Terming the USA one of the major export destinations of Bangladesh’s readymade garments, the BTMA leader said there is a lot of potential to enhance the trade between the two countries.

“But the existing tariff structure to enter the US market for our RMG products is comparatively high,” he said.

He urged the US government to provide some concessions for the RMG products made from US cotton, saying: this will be a “win-win situation for both the countries”.

He also requested Mr Miller to raise the issue with the US government with high emphasis.

The BTMA leader also urged the Brazilian ambassador to find a mechanism so that local spinners can raise their import of Brazilian cotton and the export of local RMG products over there.

Bangladesh exported RMG products worth US$ 31.45 billion and imported 8.2 million bales of raw cotton in the last fiscal year to meet the local exporters’ demand for yarn and fabrics, he noted.

Speaking at the programme, the minister assured government’s all-out support to help the sector grow further.

“Demand for yarns and fabrics is continuously growing due to buoyancies in local garment export,” he said, adding that now Bangladesh is one of the most attractive destinations for sourcing textile clothing.

Bangladesh’s garment industry, which employs millions of workers, and other industries have been hit hard due to the shutdown in the wake of the outbreak Covid-19, he told the function, explaining government stimulus plan that aimed at offsetting financial loss incurred by the garment and other export-oriented industries.

Addressing the meet, Mr Miller expressed the hope that the fumigation issue would be addressed soon.

“Once the testing requirement is withdrawn, it would benefit not only the US cotton exporters but also be cost-effective for Bangladeshi manufacturers,” the diplomat said.

He mentioned that Bangladesh imported about 14 per cent of its required cotton from the US last fiscal which would increase further with the rise in garment exports and work orders.

Referring to the country’s US$ 4.16 billion worth of single-month export earnings in September, Mr Arsalan expected rising demand for cotton in coming months.

Bangladesh will need to import about 2.0 million bales of cotton for October-to-December period, he predicted.

Mr Joao Tabajara de Oliveira Junior stressed direct trade in products, including cotton and sugar, between the two countries.

He said many Brazilian companies are exploring the potentials to invest and set up factories of innovative products here in Bangladesh.

Explaining the purpose, Mr Ayub said the World Cotton Day 2021 offered an opportunity for all cotton trade-related stakeholders to come together, share knowledge, showcase cotton-related activities and the agricultural crop’s critical role in economic development, international trade and poverty alleviation.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2019 launched the World Cotton Day while the United Nations General Assembly on August 30 last officially recognized October 07 as World Cotton Day, he added.

Source: The Financial Express