MEMPHIS – A team of National Cotton Council leaders is visiting Beijing to update Chinese cotton industry officials on U.S. cotton quality and to ascertain the needs of this important U.S. raw cotton customer.
The NCC quality team will be led by Vice Chairman Larry McClendon, a Marianna, AR, producer/ginner during its June 19-30 trip. Other team members include Mike Alexander, a Colorado City, TX, producer; Dan Branton, a Leland, MS, producer, Dale Grounds, a Richardson, TX, merchant; Van Murphy, a Quitman, GA, ginner and Bill Norman, NCC Technical Services staff. The team will be joined for portions of the trip by Darryl Earnest and James Knowlton, USDA/AMS/ Cotton Program; Mike Watson, Cotton Incorporated; and Leon Cui, USDA/ARS/SRRC.
The quality team visit is a follow-up to a high level U.S. cotton industry visit to China in October 2006. That trip to familiarize the U.S. delegation with China’s market demands was part of the U.S. - China Cotton Leadership Exchange Program established by the NCC and the Chinese Cotton Association (CCA). The visit also follows the November 2006 signing in Memphis of a “Memorandum of Understanding” between the NCC and CCA that promised cooperation between the countries’ cotton industries.
McClendon said the U.S. cotton industry will relay to key Chinese officials its renewed commitment to protecting and enhancing U.S. cotton’s reputation for producing high quality cotton, delivering it in a timely manner and honoring contracts.
“The volume of U.S. raw cotton exports to China has increased significantly, so we must follow through on that commitment to remain competitive in the Chinese and other global markets,” said McClendon, who emphasized that the NCC has a number of committees and task forces devoted to quality preservation and timely delivery. “This is a great opportunity to discuss issues surrounding U.S. raw cotton quality and for continuing discussions of mutual benefit to our respective industries.”
McClendon said that in the visit, the team will emphasize various activities in which the U.S. cotton industry is working diligently to preserve and improve its fiber quality and to improve upon its service to its textile customers. Those efforts range from choosing the appropriate plant varieties to ensuring proper harvesting, processing, handling and overall flow of cotton into the global marketplace.
“For example, given the strategic relationship between U. S. and China, the U.S. cotton industry strongly supports the development of mutually agreed upon cotton calibration standards,” McClendon said. “To support this effort and China’s transition to instrument classing, the U.S. industry has strongly encouraged USDA and others to work closely with Chinese fiber inspection officials.”