A think tank is calling on the government of Bangladesh to investigate trade-based money laundering (TBML) via deals involving sugar, edible oil and cotton imports.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) cites substantial volatility and inconsistencies in import and export data for these commodities and argues that capital flight is facilitated by fraudulent trades in these sectors.

Suspicious trends

Over the period it studied, the CPD says garment exports from Bangladesh grew by 7 per cent while imports of cotton grew by 75 per cent.

The think tank that is backed by several civil society organisations concludes that despite global price stability of raw cotton, the 75 per cent growth in cotton imports is suspicious.


The CPD points out that there have been no such large variations in yarn and fabric imports, neither has there been any substantial variation in investments in cotton spinning.

Moreover, the think tank maintains that declining global cotton prices suggest that the value of imports should have fallen rather than increased.

Claims dismissed

The claims are dismissed by the Bangladesh Cotton Association, which argues that the reason behind growing cotton imports is that the capacity of the country’s spinning mills is increasing.

The CPD meanwhile says it has found inconsistent data in imports and exports of sugar and edible oils similar to those it has found in the cotton industry.