s the export promotion arm of the NCC, Cotton Council International (CCI), is dedicated to increasing U.S. cotton exports of cotton, cottonseed and their products. With offices in Washington, Memphis, London, Hong Kong and Seoul, CCI plays a major role in strengthening key markets for U.S. cotton and cotton products in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
The industry’s reliance on exports of raw cotton and cotton products escalated, so CCI placed an even higher priority on overseas market development, trade servicing and promotion. The effort was aided tremendously through a close working partnership with Cotton Incorporated and an increase in funding by USDA. CCI’s entire budget of $15.9 million is directed towards the creation, expansion and maintenance of long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products.
Western Hemisphere markets were a major focus in 2002. More than 330 U.S. importers and mills along with Caribbean Basin and sub-Saharan African manufacturers attended the 2002 Sourcing CBI Summit in Miami. The Conference provided profitable trade opportunities for all of the participating U.S. importers and U.S. textile mills. Cotton Incorporated and the Cotton Board’s Importer Support Group joined CCI in hosting this successful event. CCI and Cotton Incorporated’s evaluation of the activity shows that the Sourcing CBI Summit generated some $11.3 million worth of trade.
The Cotton Gold Alliance (CGA), a groundbreaking consumer advertising and trade servicing campaign designed to build cotton versus man-made fiber demand, was unveiled in October in India. Several top Indian textile manufacturers and retailers and CGA licensees attended the event where the Seal of Cotton was introduced as a symbol of quality, 100 percent cotton products. Licensed apparel and home furnishings products labeled with the Seal of Cotton will be available at retail in India in the spring. The campaign, a joint effort between CCI, Cotton Incorporated and USDA’s Section 108 program, is targeting India’s burgeoning middle class consumer market, estimated at 180 million strong. CCI resumed its COTTON USA Orientation Tour by bringing 15 textile executives from U.S. cotton’s newest and fastest growing markets to see U.S. cotton operations and visit with shippers. Participants represented 14 textile manufacturing companies from Bangladesh, Estonia, India and Turkey. More than 700 textile executives from 60 countries now have toured the U.S. Cotton Belt through CCI’s Orientation Tours.
Almost 400 of the world’s leading cotton buyers, U.S. cotton exporters and other industry leaders representing 31 countries, participated in the recent 2002 Sourcing USA Summit in Scottsdale, AZ. Sponsored by the U.S. cotton industry, CCI, Cotton Incorporated and USDA, the event was designed to increase demand for U.S. cotton fiber by strengthening relationships between U.S. cotton exporters and buyers from around the world. Many cotton buyers attending this year’s Summit are considered to be among the top 200 cotton buyers in the world. Preliminary research suggests that participating buyers consume 6.5 million bales annually, of which 2.9 million bales are purchased from the U.S. Their annual purchases of U.S. cotton exceed $626 million, the average U.S. market share for participating companies is 46 percent and the attendees together buy nearly 30 percent of all the U.S. cotton exported.
In addition to CCI’s aggressive trade servicing program, CCI also actively markets U.S. cotton to consumers in select markets around the world. The program’s foundation is the COTTON USA Mark, a registered trademark, which clearly identifies U.S. cotton content and is available at no cost to manufacturers of 100 percent cotton products containing at least 50 percent U.S. cotton. This year’s COTTON USA retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Latin America generated $174 million in additional retail sales of U.S. cotton-rich products labeled with the COTTON USA Mark.