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DERRY - A new study on Uzbekistan's controversial cotton industry says the country still faces significant challenges if it is to achieve the international benchmarks expected by consumers and brands.

Uzbekistan abolished the state-ordered quota system for cotton crops, ending a decades-old arrangement that encouraged forced labour in the industry, earlier this year and hopes international boycotts will soon be lifted.

However, the new report by Ulster University and the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights, says the new cotton cluster system, a landmark privatisation initiative designed to improve productivity and address the drivers of forced labour, still suffers from high levels of corporate risk.

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