As the National Cotton Council’s export promotion arm, Cotton Council International (CCI) is dedicated to increasing U.S. 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.
In 2006, CCI marks 50 years of successfully developing international markets for U.S. cotton fiber and cotton products. After five decades and major industry changes, one important fact remains: exports are vital to the U.S. cotton industry’s financial health. Fortunately, today’s global demand for cotton is four times greater than in 1956. For the 2005-2006 marketing year, the U.S. is projected to export 16 million bales – about 70 percent of U.S. production. China, Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia are today’s key markets.
Today, CCI operates in 50 markets worldwide and has active representation spanning four continents. Its programs involve fiber servicing, consumer advertising, retail promotion, U.S. cotton textile export promotion and cottonseed meal projects.
U.S. Cotton Fiber Promotions
In 2005, U.S.-grown cotton continued as the world’s cotton fiber of choice because of innovation and competitiveness. U.S. exports now represent 40 percent of all cotton traded worldwide.
CCI’s and Cotton Incorporated’s U.S. Cotton Symposium in Turkey showcased U.S. cotton’s fiber qualities. Organized around a special grant from USDA to promote Cotton Incorporated’s Engineered Fiber Selection System (EFS), the symposium led to strong EFS licensing prospects and sales of 314,000 U.S. bales. The activity also produced three new COTTON USA Mark licensees which intend to produce 35,000 tons of open-end cotton yarn, knit fabric, bed linens and home textile products.
|The COTTON USA Special Trade Mission from Pakistan had representatives from eight Pakistani mills with combined annual consumption of more than 550,000 bales.|
CCI continued to provide overseas customers firsthand exposure to the U.S. cotton production and supply system. In 2005, CCI and the U.S. cotton industry hosted three major groups of cotton fiber buyers.
The COTTON USA Special Trade Mission from Pakistan had representatives from eight Pakistani mills with combined annual consumption of more than 550,000 bales. Following the tour, one participant decided to shift sourcing for one of its mills to 100 percent U.S. cotton.
Twelve Chinese textile mills, with a combined annual consumption of 2.2 million bales, toured the U.S. Cotton Belt as part of the first COTTON USA Special Trade Mission from China. The tour included seminars with key U.S. cotton organizations and visits to a farm, gin and denim mill.
Textile executives from 13 countries participated in the 34th COTTON USA Orientation Tour. The event began at Cotton Incorporated’s world headquarters in Raleigh, NC, and included stops at major cotton growing and trading centers in the Mid-South, Texas and California. The companies on this tour annually import some 467,000 U.S. bales.
Promoting U.S.-Made Cotton Textiles
Economists predict U.S. exports of yarns, threads and fabric will reach 3.4 million bale-equivalents in 2005.
Trade agreements are crucial to keeping U.S.-manufactured cotton yarn and fabric competitive with Asian imports. NAFTA, CAFTA and a possible Andean Free Trade Agreement provide a framework for the U.S. textile industry to showcase its high quality yarn and fabrics to apparel manufacturers and jointly create a competitive platform for textile and garment trade in this hemisphere.
Through CCI’s COTTON USA Sourcing Program and collaboration with Cotton Incorporated and interested U.S. manufacturers, CCI developed a robust program of support for U.S. cotton yarn and fabric manufacturers. The effort targeted Mexico, the Andean region and Central America. Seventeen U.S. textile manufacturing companies now have joined the COTTON USA Sourcing Program in carrying out its initiatives.
CCI worked with U.S. cotton textile manufacturers to invigorate their business in 2005:
- Leaders from 44 apparel manufacturing companies representing 10 countries visited U.S. textile operations to learn how to source U.S. yarns and fabrics during the COTTON USA CBI & Andean Apparel Manufacturers Tour. Participating buyers met one-on-one with U.S. mills and toured U.S. manufacturing operations.
- CCI and Cotton Incorporated representatives promoted the benefits of U.S. cotton and cotton products at the 17th annual Colombiatex trade show. Eleven U.S. manufacturers showcased their high quality cotton yarn and fabrics while pursuing opportunities in the Andean region. To facilitate commerce between the U.S. manufacturers and the 550 international buyers in attendance, CCI’s Sourcing Program sponsored an international buyers’ VIP business center.
- Sixteen U.S. mills were the highlight of the COTTON USA Pavilion during the “Apparel Sourcing Show 2005” in Guatemala City. U.S mills received additional exposure in the show’s directory, on banners and on cotton bags given to each attendee.
- At the COTTON USA Sourcing Fair in Costa Rica, 10 U.S. mills met with textile and apparel executives from the Andean and Central America/Caribbean region, as well as with Korean companies with apparel operations in that region.
Supply Chain Marketing
CCI ramped up efforts to link all U.S. cotton users in a supply system that maximizes the U.S. fiber’s use.
Examples of CCI’s successes this year include displays at Texworld and Premiere Vision, the U.S. Cotton Pavilion at Heimtextil and the European Buyers Tour to China. At the Texworld and Premiere Vision trade shows in Paris, CCI and Cotton Incorporated featured the COTTONWORKS® Fabric Library and a Supima section.
At the Heimtexil home furnishings show in Frankfurt, Germany, the U.S. Cotton Pavilion was co-hosted by CCI and Cotton Incorporated and featured COTTON USA licensees from around the world who sold approximately $6.5 million worth of U.S. cotton-rich home fashion products.
|CCI President Gary W. Taylor participates in the Japan Cotton Day 10th anniversary celebration.|
During CCI’s European Buyers Tours to China, major apparel buyers, with an annual cotton product buying volume of $329 million, visited key textile centers.
COTTON USA Mark Licensing/Promotion Program
First launched in 1989, the COTTON USA Mark has grown to its current stature as the symbol of quality and value in apparel and home furnishing products. To increase the importance of the Mark in the eyes of the consumer and the trade, CCI builds Mark awareness among targeted consumers through advertising, promotions and events. For example:
- CCI’s “Nothing Feels Like This”fashion shows featured major brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica. Cotton fiber and product buyers attended the event along with fashion and lifestyle press from Hong Kong and China.
- The 10th annual Cotton Day event, which included major publicity events in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, generated $2.7 million in media coverage featuring the COTTON USA Mark.
- In Germany, through the “Cotton Calling Campaign,” U.S. cotton’s message reached 82.5 million consumers. COTTON USA’s “Nothing Feels Like This” promotion with German retailer Betten Rid generated more than $852,000 in sales of home textiles labeled with the COTTON USA Mark.
- In Colombia, during CCI’s “Dress Your Country” clothing drive, COTTON USA donated 28,000 pounds of clothes collected from school and public donation drives to Colombian families displaced as a result of violence within the country.
- CCI-Taiwan’s “Pure Love of Cotton” sales promotion featured COTTON USA Mark licensees, representing 110 brands. Ten major TV channels re-broadcast the concert featuring the band 183 CLUB.
- CCI’s sales promotion with Levi’s in Korea led to $732,000 in sales of COTTON USA Mark-labeled merchandise, a 17 percent increase over the previous year.
CCI will continue to work around the clock and around the world to develop international markets for U.S. cotton, cottonseed and their products. CCI is supported in its endeavors by the NCC; Cotton Incorporated; the American Cotton Shippers Association; the American Cotton Marketing Cooperatives; the National Cottonseed Products Association; the New York Board of Trade; the San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association; Supima; the Southern Cotton Growers; Monsanto - through The Cotton Foundation; USDA and COTTON USA Mark licensees worldwide.