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International relations

Uzbekistan hopes for 'white gold' rush after cotton boycott lifted

Crop has been both a boon and a curse for the Central Asian nation

An Uzbek worker pushes raw cotton: The International Labor Organization says forced labor in the industry has fallen to negligible levels.   © Reuters

ALMATY -- The future is looking brighter for Uzbekistan's cotton industry, after a coalition of pressure groups lifted a global boycott that lasted over a decade and was joined by the likes of Adidas and H&M. 

The Cotton Campaign last week ended the boycott following the release of a report that found no cases of government-imposed forced labor in last year's harvest. "After encouraging hundreds of companies to avoid Uzbek cotton over the past 12 years, we're happy to announce the time has come to lift the Uzbek Cotton Pledge," Patricia Jurewicz, CEO of the Responsible Sourcing Network and Cotton Campaign co-founder, said in a news release.

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