The Dubai Cotton Centre (DCC), a cotton trading hub linking Asia and Uzbekistan, is due to begin operations later this month following a three-month delay.

The centre will act as a redistribution and trading centre for cotton from Central Asia and could save up to 40 days' shipping time for importers in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Korea and China.

The hub will offer daily spot cotton prices, as well as financing for cotton inventory purchased by traders and stored in Dubai, and inspection facilities throughout the fibre's trade journey.

The DCC agreed a deal with the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations last October to buy 50-60,000 metric tonnes of cotton from exporter Uzprommashimpeks (UPM).

UPM is one of the largest cotton exporters in Uzbekistan, which is the world's third-largest cotton exporter.

However, the country is mired in controversy over allegations that forced child labour is used in cotton harvesting.

Wal-Mart Stores has ordered its global suppliers to stop sourcing cotton and cotton materials from Uzbekistan until steps to eradicate the use of child labour have been independently verified.

While other retailers and brands, including Levi's Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Target and Gap are boycotting products that are known to contain Uzbek cotton.