Bangladesh lifts fumigation requirements on US cotton

Bangladesh has lifted fumigation requirements on cotton imported from the US, broadening opportunities for American grown cotton.  

Dr. Don Parker with the National Cotton Council tells Brownfield for nearly 50 years, bales of US cotton had to be fumigated at Bangladesh ports before moving in-country.

“That was a big challenge, not just because of the cost associated with it, but because of the efficiency to be able to get those bales to the mills. There would oftentimes be a backup of bales of cotton that were waiting for their opportunity to be fumigated.”

He says the fumigation measures were an effort to prevent the spread of boll weevils, but current research shows cotton bales do not host live boll weevils.

Parker says lifting the trade barrier increases market access for US cotton producers and benefits cotton mills in Bangladesh which were paying over $1 million each year for the fumigation process.

“This definitely will open more room for imports from the US. Bangladesh is a pretty big consumer of US cotton already, but this just makes it even more attractive for them to be able to use US cotton.”

Parker says the decision to lift the ban was made after a Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture delegation participated in a US cotton tour last fall that included a review of the industry’s successful Boll Weevil Eradication program as well as modern cotton harvesting and ginning techniques. The tour was sponsored by Cotton Council International and coordinated by the National Cotton Council in cooperation with the USDA.

The USDA’s Foreign Ag Service ranks Bangladesh as the second largest global importer of cotton and a top 10 export market for US cotton in 2022 with exports valued at more than $477 million.

Interview with Dr. Don Parker

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