The NCC’s export promotions arm continued to sharpen its focus on overseas market development activities on behalf of the U.S. cotton industry during 2007.
Through a combination of staff and contract representatives, CCI’s presence overseas now includes on-ground personnel in 16 countries, with active programs in more than 50 countries. Overseas market development programs managed by CCI (including third party supporting efforts) have reached $71.6 million.
This strong global presence is ever more crucial to U.S. cotton as more than 75 percent of the U.S. crop was expected to move to consumer markets outside the United States in 2007, compared with 45 percent exported in 1987.
Three CCI-hosted groups toured major cotton growing, research and trading centers across the U.S. Cotton Belt in 2007. They included textile executives from 13 countries who participated in the weeklong COTTON USA Orientation Tour to familiarize these key customers with how U.S. cotton is produced, processed, classed and marketed. The COTTON USA Fiber Education Tour enlightened 12 Japanese retail and brand executives to the benefits of U.S. cotton fiber in finished apparel. Likewise, a delegation of nine Bangladeshi textile mill executives met with key U.S. industry officials. Visits to Cotton Incorporated research facilities were a highlight of each tour, along with tours of farms, USDA classing facilities and meetings with cotton exporters.
CCI also sponsored a COTTON USA Executive Delegation to overseas markets identified by CCI’s Export Promotion Committee as key targets for the U.S. cotton industry. This group met with textile industry leaders from Vietnam, Pakistan and Turkey – and delivered presentations on U.S. cotton’s quality and sustainability, U.S. and world production, supply and demand, U.S. farm legislation and World Trade Organization issues, futures and options, Supima, and the COTTON USA Supply Chain Marketing program. U.S. fiber export sales in the weeks surrounding the visits were positive.
U.S. cotton’s customers in Indonesia and Thailand learned how implementing lean manufacturing can help them become more competitive in the global marketplace.
This educational seminar series and other such events are sponsored by CCI as a value-added service to U.S. cotton-consuming companies -- enabling them to build relationships throughout the supply chain and increase their competitiveness by utilizing new information and technology.
A COTTON USA Executive Delegation met with textile industry leaders from Vietnam, Pakistan and Turkey – and delivered presentations on U.S. cotton’s quality, trade and other important topics.
U.S.-Made Textile Promotions
Twelve U.S. textile mills participated in the COTTON USA Sourcing Program and enlisted CCI’s assistance in identifying business opportunities in the Western Hemisphere.
COTTON USA’s Sourcing Fair in Costa Rica linked these 12 mills and 46 Western Hemisphere manufacturers with 15 prominent brands and retailers. Participants conducted more than 600 one-on-one meetings to provide retailers with options for sourcing U.S.-manufactured cotton products from the Western Hemisphere, in addition to their current Asia-based manufacturers.
Nine U.S. mills conducted about 140 private meetings at the Apparel Sourcing Show in Guatemala City. Five sample orders were placed during the show, and the mills anticipate future orders of 250,000 pounds of U.S. cotton products. U.S. mills also benefited from a private function with the U.S. and Korean Ambassadors to Guatemala, sponsored by the Sourcing Program, to strengthen sales opportunities of U.S. yarn and fabric to Korean textile and garment makers in the region.
Forty-one buyers from nine countries throughout the Western Hemisphere toured the Southeastern United States during a Sourcing Program event. The yarn and fabric buyers met in North Carolina with U.S. textile mills for a group seminar, Cotton Incorporated presentations and individual plant tours.
The COTTON USA stand at trade shows provided publicity for U.S. cotton and a networking platform for U.S. textile mills participating in the Sourcing Program. Achievements included about 140 companies conducting business appointments within COTTON USA’s VIP center at Colombiamoda in Medellín and the largest textile mills from North and South America participating in the annual Colombiatex trade show in Medellín.
Supply Chain Marketing
CCI led three Buyers Tours to China, the largest importer of U.S. cotton.
The tours brought 50 retailers and brands, with a combined annual turnover of $142 billion, to Shanghai to meet qualified suppliers of U.S. cotton-rich knit and woven fabrics and garments, and home textiles. Executives on the tours participated in briefing sessions, COTTON USA sourcing fairs, mill tours and trade fairs. Buyers expect to purchase $10 million in U.S. cotton-rich products to fit their sourcing needs, according to post-event surveys.
Another COTTON USA Buyers Tour destination was Turkey, a major export destination for U.S. cotton. Fifteen leading European and American retailers and brands met one-on-one with Turkish suppliers of U.S. cotton-rich products during a private trade fair featuring 26 exhibitors, toured 18 showrooms and visited five mills and manufacturers. Buyers and suppliers reported meeting new suppliers and placing initial orders valued at approximately $350,000.
CCI held its first Buyers Tour in Vietnam, bringing 28 Japanese retailers to Ho Chi Minh City.
Brands and retailers flocked to the Texworld and Première Vision trade shows to scope out textile trends and sourcing opportunities, and the U.S. cotton booth was a one-stop shop for those seeking cotton. Amidst the largest combined exhibition of the world’s leading textile mills, the U.S. cotton booth identified eligible suppliers with booths at the shows and disseminated valuable technical and trend information on sustainable U.S. cotton from CCI, Cotton Incorporated and Supima.
COTTON USA Mark Licensing and Promotion
Hundreds of consumers and trade representatives in Japan, Korea and Taiwan celebrated Cotton Day, an annual event sponsored by CCI and Cotton Incorporated to welcome the beginning of the U.S. planting season. Media coverage of Cotton Day in Japan reached 791 million consumers and generated $8.4 million in equivalent advertising value.
A ten-page special feature in Vogue Latin America highlighted cotton’s importance in denim and displayed a COTTON USA denim collection produced by Colombian designer Amelia Toro. Thailand’s highest circulated fashion magazine, Praew, featured Cotton Design Challenge students’ 100 percent cotton garments.
In China, CCI’s first COTTON IN ART show in Beijing featured works of art composed from U.S. cotton fiber or fabrics. The collaborative project with China and Hong Kong artists and 14 COTTON USA licensees attracted 6,000 visitors and generated an earned advertising value of nearly $1.5 million.
CCI President Michael Adams spoke at a Cotton Day event, which celebrates the beginning of the U.S. planting season.
In addition to U.S. cotton fiber promotion, CCI also successfully executed several generic fiber promotions to educate consumers on the benefits of cotton vs. synthetic fiber. These included: 1) CCI’s generic cotton promotion campaign in India, marked with Cotton Incorporated’s Seal of Cotton, which doubled consumer recognition of this trustmark; 2) China’s next generation of designers showcased cotton clothing designs at the “COTTON-BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION” competition. This public relations program – a collaboration between CCI, Cotton Incorporated and the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology – educated Chinese consumers on the benefits of cotton through a student design competition.
In conjunction with the campaign, CCI and Cotton Incorporated jointly hosted five Chinese journalists on a visit to the United States to help them better understand U.S. cotton and U.S. fashion marketing. The group saw Texas cotton fields, a USDA classing/grading facility and Cotton Incorporated’s world headquarters and consumer marketing/fashion design operations. China and India represent perhaps the world’s greatest opportunities for enhancing underlying demand for cotton products.