Textile millers in Bangladesh have called for introducing direct vessel operations between the Chattogram Port and the United States to reduce the time and cost of cotton imports, the main raw material for readymade garments.
"Direct vessel service will definitely increase the use of US cotton in Bangladesh," said Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
He made the call to US cotton exporters at a seminar on the "US cotton and the golden triangle of spinning profitability" organised by the Cotton USA at a city hotel on Monday night.
The BTMA president said, currently, Bangladesh imports 11% of its cotton needs from the US. This is likely to be 14% this year. If the direct vessel service is introduced, it will increase further.
At the same seminar, he highlighted the time-consuming process of compulsory fumigation at Chattogram port in the import of cotton from the United States.
"We are working on it, need to have your positive initiatives for the withdrawal of compulsoriness of fumigation on US cotton. Withdrawal of fumigation will also increase the use of US cotton in Bangladesh," he added.
At the event, Peter D Haas, the newly-appointed US ambassador to Bangladesh, assured the businesses that he would work for the withdrawal of the mandatory fumigation.
In the last financial year, Bangladesh imported 8.5 million bales of cotton from the international market, of which 11% was from the US.
Among others, Sharif Zahir, managing director at Ananta Group, Fayyaz Khundker, managing director at Ocean Network Express Line, and Cotton USA's representatives Darren Long, Steve Dyer and Hope Brooks, spoke at the seminar.