Recently, a three-member delegation from Cotton Council International (CCI) – a non-profit trade platform that promotes US cotton – is now visiting Bangladesh in a bid to USA’s drive to further strengthen the US cotton export to Bangladesh.
The delegation opined that Bangladesh is a crucial market as it is the world’s second major importer of cotton.
At a program at a hotel in Dhaka, William R Bettendorf, Director of supply chain and marketing for South and Southeast Asia of CCI, said to media that Bangladesh’s spinning industry is heavily dependent on imported cotton. The US cotton export witnessed a 40% year-on-year growth in FY21.
Speaking about the motives for the surge in Bangladesh’s US cotton imports, Bettendorf said mills and manufacturers in Bangladesh trust US cotton because of its quality, sustainability, transparency, innovation and value.
“Every bale is tested, quality is guaranteed, and our cotton provides a better spinning consistency,” he noted.
Bettendorf also said there is no deep-sea port in Bangladesh, which is critically affecting Bangladesh’s apparel industry by increasing the lead-time.
The fumigation process – the process of disinfecting or purifying an area with the fumes of certain chemicals – is also there that takes three days. Besides, there are many issues that Bangladesh can only solve, Bettendorf pointed out.
Cotton-carrying vessels from the US have to be fumigated at the port for a stated time, which industry people think is giving a rise to spending.
The delegation also included Wesley Rentz of Olam Cotton – the largest shipper to Bangladesh by market share; Joerg Bauersachs, head of CCI Technical Service and Ali Arsalan, the Country Representative at Cotton USA.
In the visit, the CCI delegation met with representatives of spinning mill owners and leaders of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon told a leading daily that, “We have unofficially demanded that US-cotton made garments be given duty-free access to the country’s market.”
“We also requested them to send cotton directly from transshipment ports, such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, or Singapore. In this way, we can get shipments within 30 days,” Khokon added.
Bangladesh imported 8.2 million bales of cotton from the international market in 2020, of which, o.83 million bales came from the US market.
According to CCI representatives, in FY21, Bangladesh imported around 1.15 million bales, which accounted for around 14% of its total imports.