The shift will save Bangladesh mills time and money as they look to the US to fill their cotton fibre import needs.

Bangladesh mills have been paying over a million dollars annually to cover unnecessary fumigation costs imposed on cotton imported from the US.

US exporters will continue to use APHIS-generated phytosanitary certificates, but under the new regulation the certificate will have additional language confirming no live boll weevils are in US baled cotton. APHIS will issue revised instructions for exporters.

The move came after six Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture delegation members joined a CCI-sponsored US cotton tour. Thanks to coordination with the National Cotton Council (NCC), the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture delegation conducted US cotton meetings in Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas. They met with US cotton industry representatives and visited cotton fields, gins and warehouses, and the USDA Agricultural Ginning Research Laboratory in Stoneville, MS.

The delegation learned why US cotton bales do not harbor live boll weevils, including a review of the US cotton industry’s successful Boll Weevil Eradication Program and its modern cotton harvesting and standardised ginning techniques. Additional discussion topics included the phytosanitary inspection and certification process with APHIS during Zoom calls at the NCC headquarters in Cordova, TN, and during a meeting with the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Program in Abilene, TX.

Bangladesh presently ranks as the second largest global importer of cotton, according to the USDA FAS’s global market analysis in May 2023. Although there is some domestic cotton produced in Bangladesh, it accounts for 1% or less of total demand.