Main exporter of cotton in uzbekistan, said  that it had exported $ 1 billion of textile products this year, adding that international sales are expected to grow.

The announcement came shortly after the united states criticized the country tightly controlled central asia not to have to stop using forced labor in its cotton fields.

“this year the total exports of textile products reached $ 1,000,000,000,” said the uzbek prime minister shavkat mirziyoyev.

“export volumes are ramping up each year,” he said at an annual cotton fair in the capital tashkent.

Mirziyoyev added that uzbekistan, the fifth largest cotton exporter in the world, had last year produced 3.3 million tons of cotton and should achieve the same goal in 2014.

About 1000 participants from 40 countries have registered to participate in tashkent cotton fair this year, which holds each fall, at the peak of cotton harvest time in the former soviet republic.

“children mobilized to pick cotton ‘

Activists of human rights accused the uzbek government of mobilizing force public employees, including doctors and teachers, and students to reap what uzbekistan calls its “national treasure”.

Ahead of the two-day event, rights activists campaign against the use of child labor announced that british retailer tesco has joined more than 150 companies that have pledged to stop using cotton grown in uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan officially banned child labor in its cotton fields in 2008, but the us government has recently said the country had made no progress in its efforts to eliminate it.

“the national government has maintained policies in the cotton sector, which mandated harvest quotas and cause local administrators to organize and imposing forced labor on children and adults,” the us department of labor said in a report .

The report added, however, that uzbekistan had invited a mission of the international organization of high-level working to observe the 2013 harvest.

“and reports indicate that the government has to ensure that young children (under 15) were able to continue to go to school during the harvest season,” the us department of labor added in the annual report.

“however, local government officials have continued to close secondary schools (secondary schools) during harvesting, mobilization of children aged 15 to 17 to pick cotton crop to meet government-mandated quotas . ”

The tashkent authorities say the accusations are false and part of an effort to undermine the export of uzbek cotton.

Uzbekistan exports of textile products to over 50 countries and cotton fibers mainly china, bangladesh, turkey, russia, singapore and south korea.

Source: AFP

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