Primary Textile Manufacturers Call For Removal Of Mandatory Fumigation

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Manufacturers of primary textiles have reiterated their demand for an end to mandatory fumigation that discourages local spinners from sourcing cotton from the United States despite its high quality.

About 11.14% of the 7.4 million bales of cotton imported by Bangladesh in fiscal year 2019-2020 came from the United States, according to a statement.

The Bangladesh Textile Mills Association expects this share to rise to 14 percent in the current fiscal year.

The observations were made in a meeting with U.S. Embassy Agricultural Attaché Megal M Francic, USDA officials, Cotton Council International National Representative Ali Arsalan and BTMA Chairman Mohammad Ali Khokon at BTMA office in Dhaka Thursday.

Mr. Khokon highlighted the contribution and competence of the country’s primary textile sector – the backward link industry – and the role of BTMA member factories in the growth of the export-oriented garment sector and in the satisfaction of basic local textile demand.

Praising the quality of American cotton, he said it was one of the finest qualities in the world.

“But unfortunately, due to the geographical distance between the countries, the lead time is longer, which discourages local cotton importers.”

The whole lot should be fumigated if cotton is imported from different countries. The shipment includes American cotton, he said.

“The fumigation process and customs clearance need five days or more. This causes congestion at the Port of Chattogram and also adds 3.0-4.0 cents in cost per bale, which affects the country’s trade competitiveness.

“As such, Bangladesh cotton importers feel discouraged from importing American cotton,” Khokon observed.

Despite repeated requests to relevant local authorities, the issue of phasing out fumigation remains unresolved, he said in the statement.

The BTMA leader requested the cooperation of the agricultural attaché to remove the fumigation provision in order to increase imports of US cotton.

Calling the United States the second export destination for local RMG products like denim and towels, he proposed a concession to export denim to the United States.

Mr. Khokon noted that this would be beneficial for both countries.

He also asked the delegation to include the BTMA in the process while taking an executive delegation to the United States in the years to come.

This would help the Bangladesh spinning industry learn about various aspects of US cotton and its sourcing process, the BTMA chief said.

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