He emphasised the importance of maintaining secure and quality cotton imports from its top supplier which is India

India is crucial to Bangladesh’s aim to double its apparel exports and the countries can come together to give strong competition to their global competitors, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said addressing the 2nd Bangladesh-India Cotton Fest 2020.

Addressing the ceremony held at a hotel in Dhaka, he said that Bangladesh aimed to double its apparel exports over the next five years. He also emphasised on the importance of maintaining secure and quality cotton imports from its top supplier which is India, the Bangladeshi news portal Dhaka Tribune said.

“We know that India produces cotton in diverse varieties--coarse to fine; short, long and extra-long staple; organic and colored cottons--making India a crucial player in the global cotton market,” the minister said.

Bangladesh happens to be the world’s second largest readymade garments manufacturer with cotton being the lifeline of the country’s export economy, the minister said. He said that due to the fact, the country is also one of the largest cotton importers in the world.

“We need to import over 98% of the cotton required from nearly 42 countries resulting in 6.1 million bales of cotton imported in the FY 2019-20. Our exorbitant dependency on the cotton import now warrants a proper address in cotton production and sourcing,” M Shahriar Alam said.

It is despite the fact that Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made several efforts to increase the domestic production of cotton. He said that in the last 10 fiscal years, the cotton production in the country has gone up to 1,77,887 bales from 70,000 bales.

However, domestic production was still inadequate compared to yearly demand of around 8 million bales, Dhaka Tribune reported.

Organised by Bangladesh Cotton Association (BCA), Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), Indian Cotton Association Ltd. (ICAL) and India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI), around 30 Indian companies participated in the fest.

“It will help to cast an impression on the visitors that India is ideally positioned to supply high quality cotton to Bangladesh at competitive prices, with lower costs of transportation and easier access to suppliers,” M Shahriar said addressing the event.

The event was also attended by PM Hasina’s adviser Salman F Rahman as the chief guest.