Cotton Council International (CCI), the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) export promotion arm, continued to promote U.S. cotton in more than 50 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Central and South America.
Utilizing its COTTON USA trademark, CCI’s 2016 activities were critical to helping U.S. cotton compete in an uncertain global environment that included increased competition from man-made fibers.
With the mission of making U.S. cotton the preferred fiber, CCI ramped up global initiatives aimed at instilling a preference for U.S. cotton and cotton products throughout the marketing chain. Specifically, U.S. cotton was vigorously promoted among yarn spinners, fabric/garment manufacturers, brands/retailers and consumers. Using a highly effective supply-push/demand pull strategy, CCI emphasized U.S. product superiority while 1) focusing on growth markets in Asia, 2) sustaining its successful track record with mills and manufacturers, and 3) strengthening partnerships with brands.
Regarding partnerships with brands and retailers, CCI revised its global licensing program to increase participation. COTTON USA-licensed cotton user firms throughout the supply chain are using the COTTON USA Mark logo to distinguish products at retail that contain a majority of U.S. cotton. An example of that dynamic licensing effort was CCI’s signing of Brandix Textiles Limited as its first licensee in Sri Lanka, a developing market for U.S. cotton exports. One of Sri Lanka's largest textile manufacturers, Brandix supplies high quality woven finished fabrics to leading global apparel brands.
Among CCI’s many promotions were the annual “Cotton Days” where CCI President Keith Lucas helped draw attention to U.S. cotton’s high quality in the key markets of Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. At the first “Cotton Day” in Bangladesh, he led a special delegation that met with textile and apparel industry leaders in that rapidly growing market.
The first COTTON USA Pop-Up store opened in Bangkok, Thailand at the world’s sixth largest shopping complex where women’s and men’s wear collections from two COTTON USA licensees were accentuated. Another first was successful Chinese apartment complex promotions where visitors were inspired to decorate with U.S. cotton-rich home textiles. COTTON USA also showed how the comfort of U.S. cotton bedding and towels can make people feel “Home Away From Home” through its booth at the Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles show in China. COTTON USA exhibited quality U.S. cotton home textiles from 13 COTTON USA licensees, including a newly launched hotel collection.
Along with those activities, CCI was diligent to further proclaim U.S. cotton’s quality and environmental responsibility. CCI Chairman Dahlen Hancock’s presentation at the International Bremen Cotton Conference helped shed more light on the sustainability efforts of U.S. cotton producers and other industry members. CCI also launched its first COTTON USA Quality Conference in Shanghai to promote U.S. cotton fiber and yarns as key ingredients in manufacturing high quality textile products.
Among CCI’s key trade servicing activities in 2016 was a U.S. executive delegation to Southeast Asia – in which Lucas participated – where U.S. cotton’s quality, timely delivery and other advantages were discussed with textile and garment leaders in Vietnam and Indonesia – the first and fifth largest U.S. cotton export markets. Likewise, CCI coordinated an industry delegation led by NCC Chairman Shane Stephens to China where that country’s cotton/textile industry leaders were reminded of U.S. cotton’s superior benefits. During a special trade mission in the U.S. Cotton Belt, executives from nine Korean textile companies learned about U.S. cotton production, processing and marketing and met with U.S. exporters. More than 60 delegates representing India’s cotton textile leadership attended an invitation-only COTTON USA seminar in Mumbai to explore how, in these changing and challenging times, cotton can have an increased importance in the textile value chain.
Through their participation in CCI’s COTTON USA Sourcing Program – a key trade servicing function – 16 U.S. textile mills enhanced business relationships with key customers worldwide. The COTTON USA Sourcing Program hosted the Western Hemisphere Uniform Manufacturers Tour to the United States to expand business between U.S. mills and the uniform industry – a key developing market for U.S. cotton yarn and fabrics. CCI also hosted its largest global sourcing fair to date in Hong Kong, with VIP participants from the entire cotton supply chain, including yarns, fabrics, garments and brands/retailers. Nearly 90 textile mills, apparel manufacturers, brands and retailers participated in the COTTON USA Western Hemisphere Sourcing Fair in Cancun, Mexico, where business partners were identified for sourcing U.S. cotton products.
Those partnerships were strengthened in November when CCI, Cotton Incorporated and the U.S. cotton industry, in cooperation with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, hosted the biennial Sourcing USA Summit in California. A sold-out audience of the most influential executives in the global cotton fiber and textile business, representing 31 countries, shared information ranging from managing cotton market risk to improving textile processing. These firms’ networking was expected to result in significant sales of U.S. cotton.
This ninth Summit was made possible with the generous support from exporter and allied industry sponsors. The exporter sponsors included: Jess Smith & Sons Cotton Co.; White Gold Cotton Marketing LLC; Allenberg Cotton Co.; Cargill Cotton; Toyoshima; PCCA; Calcot, Ltd.; Omnicotton; COFCO Agri; Glencore; Staplcotn; Toyo Cotton; ECOM; J.G. Boswell; Cotton Growers Cooperative; Engelhart CTP (US) LLC; Olam Cotton; San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association; and Supima. Allied industry sponsors included: Uster Technologies; Wakefield Inspection; Cargo Control Group; Cotton Outlook; Rieter Textile Systems; ICE Futures U.S.; CoBank; TransGlobal Inspections; Bayer CropScience; Applied DNA Sciences; Monsanto; Murata Machinery, Ltd.; and INTL FCStone Merchant Services.
With a focus on teamwork, innovation and change, CCI will continue working throughout the global supply chain in 2017 with the goal of keeping U.S. cotton the first choice among textile manufacturers worldwide.