Bangladesh may overtake China as the world’s biggest cotton importer in the current crop season thanks to strong demand from apparel makers. In the year ending July 31, 2016, Bangladesh may import a record 5.75 million bales of the fiber, up 6.5 per cent from a year earlier.
Bangladesh’s share of the global cotton export market doubled from 1995 to 2012, mostly because of the strong performance of the garment sector. The country imports 50 per cent of the cotton from India. It was 22 per cent six years earlier. Due to the higher quality, lower prices and shorter lead time, India has become the largest cotton sourcing country for Bangladesh. Much of Bangladesh’s apparel export is fuelled by cotton sourced from India.
About 14 per cent of cotton imports into Bangladesh come from Africa. The main African countries are Zimbabwe, Mali, Ivory Coast, Uganda and Zambia. Bangladesh is almost entirely dependent on raw cotton imports for the export market. More than 40 per cent of the imported raw cotton and 80 per cent of the imported yarn and fabrics are used by spinning mills and the readymade garment sector to meet the export demand.