US cotton can now arrive in Bangladesh without fumigation at the port of entry, saving Bangladeshi importers millions of dollars and five days of waiting.
The action, effective from May 16, follows a successful November 2022 visit to the United States by a technical delegation from Bangladesh’s Ministry of Agriculture, said the US Embassy in Dhaka on Monday.
The delegation verified that U.S. cotton production and pest management strategies, followed by cotton processing techniques—ginning, lint cleaning, and bale compression—that remove any risk of boll wee-vil in U.S. cotton.
Bangladesh is the second largest global importer of cotton, the seventh largest export market for U.S. cotton, exceeding $475 million in export value in 2022, and has one of the largest ready-made garment (RMG) export industries in the world.
Previously, the fumigation requirement effectively imposed a delay in the delivery of U.S. cotton, and Bangladeshi importers paid over a million dollars annually in fumigation costs on U.S. cotton.
Allowing high-quality and sustainable U.S. cotton to move smoothly through the supply chain will save the Bangladeshi RMG sector significant time and money.
“Working together with Bangladesh to solve this issue is a great example of how our two countries can collaborate to increase prosperity and remove trade barriers,” said US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas.
“Bangladesh needs high-quality U.S. cotton to fuel its growth and increase its foreign exchange earnings, while American consumers rely on sustainable, high-quality garments produced in Bangladesh,” he said.
Bangladesh Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque also welcomed the move.
“The Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture looks forward to continuing to collaborate closely with the United States Department of Agriculture on combatting the climate crisis, developing innovative tech-nologies, and ensuring food security, both in Bangladesh and around the world.”
Over the last 22 years, the U.S. government, in cooperation with the U.S. cotton industry, has continual-ly negotiated with the Government of Bangladesh to remove this fumigation requirement.