Now it is important to strengthen the information campaign to end the “boycott” of Uzbek cotton, Kevin Cassidy, director of the Washington Office of the International Labor Organization said. The analytical program “Takhlilnoma” on the TV channel “Uzbekistan 24” stated about it.
“Uzbekistan has overcome the stage of difficulties related to the eradication of forced labor, and the next stage is the achievement of sustainable economic development,” the TV channel quotes Cassidy as saying.
Reportedly, now it is necessary to shift the focus of discussions from the problem of forced labor to the issues of expanding trading-investment relations and ensuring the employment of citizens of Uzbekistan.
Cassidy believes that in the context of large-scale privatization processes in Uzbekistan, expanding the involvement of American companies themselves will further confirm the inconsistency of the “cotton boycott” of the international coalition Cotton Campaign.
“In this regard, a proactive information campaign and a widespread reporting to the international business community of measures being taken in Uzbekistan to completely stop forced labor is important,” the TV channel referred to Cassidy’s statement.
The United States lifted a multi-year ban on the purchase of Uzbekistan’s cotton at the end of March. This allows any US government enterprise to procure the Uzbek cotton without requiring its certification that the goods were produced without the use of child and forced labor.
Also, according to the US Department of Labor representatives, the withdrawal of Uzbek cotton from this list will provide an opportunity for private American companies to enter into business relations with suppliers from Uzbekistan without fear of discrediting their business reputation.
But Uzbek cotton continues to be on a “blacklist” of the international coalition Cotton Campaign, who reported that it is too early to cancel the boycott, because there is still forced labor in Uzbekistan.
There is a list of specific brands that have agreed to boycott and exclude Uzbek cotton from their supply chains. This list is constantly expanding – if in January there were 310 companies, now it is already 313.
There are such brands as Adidas, Amazon, Burberry, Disney, Forever 21, Gap, Gucci, Ikea, Lacoste, Nike, Puma, Uniqlo, Zara and many others among those who are boycotting the Uzbek cotton.