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.
For the first time in nine years, global cotton production significantly exceeds demand at the same time that the U.S. has a record crop to export. With changing global dynamics in apparel sourcing coupled with volatile prices and the U.S. entering the quota-free era of 2005, CCI continued to adjust its COTTON USA program to stay a step ahead.
Utilizing its “Supply Chain Marketing” approach, CCI invited European retail organizations to participate in its COTTON USA Sourcing tour to Turkey. Those retailers have a joint turnover of $7 million dollars and sell products in 120 countries. CCI also sponsored a buyers’ tour of European retailers to Islamabad, Pakistan; Mumbai, India; and Dhaka, Bangladesh. The trip was designed to encourage purchases of COTTON USA–licensed products from partners in South Asia.
Through the collaboration of CCI, Cotton Incorporated and Supima at the COTTON USA stand at Texworld, CCI made new contacts for its supply chain marketing effort and signed three new COTTON USA Mark licensees.
Cotton fiber and textile production must meet synthetic competition head on in rapidly developing markets like India, China, Brazil and Turkey to be successful. CCI and Cotton Incorporated’s multi-faceted generic cotton promotion campaign in India - the Cotton Gold Alliance – continued to reap dividends. Following two years of campaign efforts, the Seal of Cotton became the recognized symbol of cotton quality in India. Participants are being shown that it is in their best interest to promote cotton in India at their own expense. If successful, the model for demand enhancement will be taken to other markets.
The 2004 COTTON USA Executive Delegation conferences connected U.S. cotton leaders with key buyers from South Asia and Southeast Asia. CCI also broadened its trade servicing roster in China to reflect the growing volume of cotton purchased by Chinese mills.
CCI continued to promote U.S. cotton’s unique attributes and technical services overseas through numerous joint projects with Cotton Incorporated. Key examples included: 1) the COTTECH Conferences in Istanbul and Gaziantep that attracted 100 key executives from all major spinning companies and 2) the EFS® conference in Singapore that attracted executives from 24 Indonesian spinning mills who heard testimonials on the merits of a close partnership with the U.S. cotton industry and on targeted merchandising of U.S. cotton to EFS® users; 3) “The Cotton Forum” in Mexico City where 30 of the largest textile manufacturers in Mexico and the United States met in a event designed to showcase cotton fabrics to apparel manufacturers, retailers and apparel importers.
If there is one event that epitomizes the industry’s efforts to showcase its products and services, though, it’s the Sourcing USA Summit. The 2004 event in San Diego gathered CEOs from top cotton buying mills representing 30 countries.
CCI’s programs continued to search for new ways to add demand and profitability for the full range of cotton products.
In Mexico, CCI continued to promote cottonseed meal to dairy and livestock feeding operations. In China, discussions between the 2004 U.S. Linters Trade Team and participants from five Chinese mills suggest a future increase in exports of U.S. linters to China. The Team discussed availability and quality of U.S. linters and the import process into China.
In a new initiative, CCI and Cotton Incorporated are working with the U.S. industry to explore export potential for compressed, baled cotton sliver. Early indications are that baled sliver could play a role in specialty and diversified mills overseas and might even open avenues to replace some synthetics in blended products.
The Cotton USA Sourcing Summit in Miami hosted nearly 400 representatives of U.S. importers and mills, and Caribbean Basin, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Andean garment manufacturers. Funded by the Importer Support Group of the Cotton Board, the event was designed to further integrate U.S. cotton yarn and fabric exports with garment manufacturers in regions with preferential trade agreements with the United States.
CCI also welcomed the largest knitters and apparel makers from Central America to meet U.S. mills on their home turf where the U.S. cotton textile industry highlighted its commitment to quality and efficiency and to boosting exports into this important market.
Ten U.S. mills and 60 Andean apparel manufacturing companies solidified business ties at the second Andean Sourcing Fair in Cartagena, Colombia. COTTON USA’s Colombiamoda show in Medellín resulted in transactions of some $40 million. CCI invited 10 U.S. mills to participate in Colombiatex, Colombia’s most prestigious international textile trade show. The 13th annual CBI Apparel Sourcing Show in Guatemala City featured 15 U.S.textile mills.
CCI and Cotton Incorporated’s “Cotton Team” communicated the benefits of U.S. cotton and its products to the global home textiles trade at Heimtextil attended by 3,000 companies from 72 countries.
COTTON USA Mark-labeled products have come to symbolize premium merchandise. Since 1989, the Mark has been placed on premium brands of 100 percent cotton products using at least 50 percent U.S. cotton. COTTON USA licensed merchandise generated nearly $190 million in sales last year. Among highlights are:
- COTTON USA’s “Nothing Feels Like This” promotion in Taiwan resulted in a landmark $55 million dollars in sales and more than $8 million dollars in earned media exposure for the COTTON USA Mark.
- New COTTON USA licensee Jackie Chan introduced his JC Collection of high-end men’s apparel to the Chinese public in 2004.
- Following a successful promotion with COTTON USA in 2004, next year’s retail sales under the expanded promotion with VF Corporation, the world’s largest apparel company, are targeted at more than $27 million dollars.
- CCI’s “Cotton Comfort” Promotion with Germany’s Karstadt department store generated more than $8 million dollars in sales, while third-party contributions totaled nearly $2 million dollars.
- During the Colombian “COTTONCIERTO Bacilos” promotion, the Grammy-winning group Bacilos played two concerts in Bogota and Medellín for COTTON USA consumers, reinforcing the COTTON USA brand among target age groups.
- At CCI’s COTTON DAY 2004 in Japan, CCI, Cotton Incorporated and the Japan Spinners’ Association awarded Mr., Mrs. and Miss COTTON USA titles to famous Japanese celebrities. CCI-Japan received more than $2.5 million in equivalent advertising value from the event.
- COTTON USA teamed with children’s wear manufacturer ICC International to generate new sales in Thailand. A sales growth of 17 percent over the previous year, achieved as a result of the promotions, is expected to draw more U.S. cotton fiber through the supply chain in Thailand.
- Sales from CCI’s “Cotton + Lycra” campaign increased 10 percent from 2002. The promotion enticed Korean consumers to purchase COTTON USA/Lycra-labeled products from COTTON USA Mark licensees “James Dean” and “Bodyguard.”
Coupled with its U.S. industry partners and its 266 licensees overseas, CCI garnered a 10-to-1 leverage of industry funds against public funds and nearly $41 million in third party contributions overseas in 2004.