The United States wants to increase its cotton shipments to Bangladesh by at least 10 per cent a year. In most major Asian apparel producing countries, the US has a market share of 15 to 40 per cent while in Bangladesh it is still around 10 per cent.
Around 600,000 bales of cotton flowed from the US to Bangladesh last year. The US hopes to export more than one million bales to Bangladesh by 2024. The biggest advantage of US cotton is its lower contamination compared to other countries. Fiber quality in the US is also improving further with new seed varieties and production practices.
Currently, Bangladesh is the largest cotton importing country in the world. The country is expected to import around 7.1 million bales of cotton in 2017-18, further consolidating its position as the leading cotton importing nation. Bangladesh is, however, heavily reliant on India for its cotton supply. Around 60 per cent of Bangladesh’s cotton import is shipped from India. The shorter lead time is often cited as a major reason for this dependence on Indian cotton. From this point of view Bangladesh’s geographical distance from the US is a major challenge for increasing trade with Bangladesh.