Dhaka, Sunday, 24 May 2020

US lifts ban on Uzbek cotton

US lifts ban on Uzbek cotton

Apparel Desk: Uzbek cotton is no longer on the US list of banned products. The US had imposed a ban in 2010 over suspicion that Uzbek cotton was produced, or manufactured by forced child labor. But now the US feels the use of forced child labor in cotton harvest in Uzbekistan has been significantly reduced.

For years, rights watchdogs have been accusing Uzbek authorities of forcing children to pick cotton, one of the Central Asian country’s biggest exports. Uzbekistan for decades has mobilized students as well as staff at schools and medical clinics and hospitals to pick cotton.

Uzbekistan is the fifth largest cotton producer in the world. It exports about 60 per cent of its raw cotton to China, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Iran. Uzbekistan’s cotton industry generates more than a billion dollars in annual revenue, or about a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. Uzbekistan will deepen reforms in the textile industry to fully reprocess raw cotton domestically and increase the export potential of the country. Stimulating measures will be provided for enterprises engaged in exports of textile products. Traditionally, cotton has been Uzbekistan’s most important cash crop. But the country has been taking steps to develop its textile industry to produce value-added products rather than exporting raw cotton.