The boycott of China’s Xinjiang cotton by the US can have far-reaching implications, and even impact the Asian market. The US is trying to reshape the international supply chain by doing this with the world’s biggest textile producer, exporter, and consumer. However, the intricate global supply chain can lead to major setbacks for countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam, where the suppliers are as they move away from China.
Initially, this sweeping ban that includes cotton may seem like a windfall due to the smothering impact on China as the top global textile maker for garment manufacturers in South and Southeast Asia. However, this may actually turn out to be a bane as the global textile supply chain is highly intertwined.
Members of the Bangladesh Garment Buying House Association (BGBA) were asked to be cautious about sourcing raw materials imported from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region after Washington’s Uygur Forced Labour Prevention Act came into effect. This is when the concern came to be highlighted.
KaziIftaquer Hossain, President of the non-profit BGBA, said that though the act hadn’t impacted the Bangladeshi garment industry yet, it may still face setbacks due to the US’ import restrictions. He said in the press, “So far as we know, Bangladesh garment exporters haven’t encountered difficulties till now, but they send messages relevant to the current change of their policy.” “Here, we exporters have to prove that no Xinjiang province materials – either wholly or partially – are used to manufacture our garments, so it’s a real challenge,” he added.
About 40% of cotton products are imported from China by Bangladesh and it will certainly be difficult for this major sourcing.