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U.S. Cotton Market Access Expanded in Bangladesh

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For nearly five decades, Bangladesh mandated U.S. cotton undergo fumigation due to concerns surrounding the boll weevil. However, recent collaborative efforts between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies and the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture have led to a pivotal change in import requirements.

This transformation now exempts the United States from the list of countries mandated to fumigate cotton upon its arrival in Bangladesh, marking a significant trade victory for American cotton producers. Bangladesh stands as the fifth-largest export market for U.S. cotton, with export values surpassing $339 million in the previous year.

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) played a key role in dispelling misconceptions about U.S. cotton and providing substantial evidence to showcase that the boll weevil poses no substantial threat to imports. The momentum began with comprehensive technical data presented by FAS in 2021, demonstrating the near eradication of the boll weevil in U.S. cotton fields, alleviating Bangladesh’s concerns.

Furthermore, the Cotton Council International (CCI) intensified bilateral efforts, facilitating a visit by a Bangladesh delegation to witness U.S. cotton production firsthand. This delegation toured cotton fields, gins, and warehouses across states like Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas, gaining insights into modern harvesting techniques and standardized ginning practices.

This recent development highlights the dedication of American farmers in showcasing the superior quality of their agricultural products to international markets, essential for boosting U.S. exports. U.S. cotton growers not only leverage the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Boll Weevil Eradication Program to eradicate the pest but also enhance their competitiveness, thanks to the program’s support.

Overall, this achievement underscores nearly 22 years of persistent engagement between the U.S. cotton industry, FAS, APHIS, Agricultural Research Service officials, and the Government of Bangladesh in advocating for fair trade practices that benefit American farmers and businesses.

Rachel Adams

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