Cotton Council International (CCI) continued working worldwide to build underlying consumer demand for products containing cotton, and U.S. cotton in particular. In 2009, CCI’s COTTON USA activities reached hundreds of millions of global consumers.
China is the world’s largest producer and textile mill consumer of cotton in the world. It continues to be the largest importer of U.S. cotton, with purchases of 3.9 million bales in the last marketing year. That is why CCI’s largest program is in China, working on a full range of activities and services – from trade education to after sales services – and from consumer research to retail advertising and promotion. Participants in the leadership delegation exchanges between the China Cotton Association and the National Cotton Council, say that all of CCI’s services are valued.
Among key China activities was the COTTON USA “Natural World” promotion that featured Chinese celebrities.
Key activities in China during 2009 included the “COTTON-BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION” campaign; the COTTON USA “Natural World” promotion includes licensees and celebrities; the U.S. cotton booth at the Intertextile Home trade show in Shanghai; and the China Cotton Association leaders’ visit across the U.S. Cotton Belt.
Northeast Asia remains both a huge market for finished cotton products and a large destination for direct U.S. fiber exports. Japan is the second largest consumer market in the world, making CCI’s consumer promotion efforts for cotton and COTTON USA branded products vital for drawing U.S. fiber through the cotton supply chain. In addition, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese spinning, manufacturing and retail interests control many decisions in the broader Asian region that determine whether the consumer will be offered cotton or synthetic fibers, and where those fibers will be sourced.
Activity highlights in this region included: High Cotton Day celebrations spotlighting the world’s favorite fiber; a TV program featuring U.S. cotton that created 2.4 million consumer impressions in Japan; the Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan that encouraged consumers to “Love Music & Cotton;” and Taiwan’s apparel makers and retailers connecting with the fashion industry at Taipei IN Style.
Southeast Asia is an increasingly popular sourcing destination for major international brands. CCI’s Export Promotion Committee has identified Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam as among a handful of countries with the best export growth potential for the next five years. CCI also expanded its consumer promotions of cotton in India, a country with a fast-growing economy and the second largest population, behind China. In a major breakthrough, the cotton industries of India and China both announced in 2009 that they would begin consumer promotion of cotton products within their domestic markets - a major potential boost to underlying global cotton demand.
Key activities in this region included: the Buyers Tour to Indonesia that created trading relationships with customers in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand; Thailand’s celebration of its first Cotton Day event; and Indian cotton campaigns that increased consumer awareness of cotton versus synthetics.
Turkey is U.S. cotton’s second largest cotton export market after China, at about 1.8 million bales last year. U.S. cotton has a market share of 61 percent in Turkey. CCI, Cotton Incorporated and the U.S. industry have been very active in that country for years using promotion tools such as trade servicing, technical support, GSM credit guarantees and COTTON USA supply chain marketing efforts. Turkey will continue to be a priority market for CCI for years to come.
CCI President Clyde T. Sharp, who led a COTTON USA Executive Delegation in Latin America, inspects a yarn spinning operation.
Activities in this important country included: buyers meeting Turkish suppliers of U.S. cotton-rich products during a CCI tour; CCI’s promotion of U.S. cotton home textiles at Evteks; Turkey’s leading textile/garment manufacturers learning about lean manufacturing; and CCI and Cotton Incorporated hosted sustainability seminars.
Western Europe represents one of the world’s largest consumer markets, and CCI focuses on building relationships with brands and retailers, with particular attention to the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. CCI also worked to reinforce the positive message about cotton and the environment, with special emphasis on the leadership of the U.S. industry in sustainable, environmentally-sound practices throughout the supply chain.
Special activities in this sector included: U.S. cotton booths at European trade shows that promoted COTTON USA; retail sales promotions in Germany that encouraged consumers to purchase COTTON USA-labeled products; COTTON USA cabs giving rides during London Fashion Week; a U.S. Vogue representative attending a COTTON USA-sponsored show during London Fashion Week; and CCI’s sustainability conference in Budapest.
The Western Hemisphere consistently has ranked in the top three export markets for U.S. cotton since CCI launched the Sourcing Program in 2000. That’s a major reason why the COTTON USA Executive Delegation went to Colombia, Peru, El Salvador and Mexico. The U.S. cotton industry simply cannot be successful in this business without good customers in this hemisphere, whether in Central America, South America or North America.
In addition to the Executive Delegation, featured activities included: nine U.S. textile mills showcased at the Apparel Sourcing Show; the Sourcing Program visit to U.S. manufacturers by Korean knitters and apparel makers with operations in Central America; the Western Hemisphere Manufacturers Tour that brought yarn and fabric buyers to the United States; CCI-developed business connections for U.S. cotton at Colombiatex, Colombiamoda and Perumoda; and a COTTON USA T-shirt design contest in Colombia to generate consumer excitement.
The United States is no stranger to the COTTON USA Mark. There is increasing interest among companies in this hemisphere to use the COTTON USA ingredient brand in their U.S. marketing. Imported goods make up the largest portion of U.S. net domestic consumption, but a significant portion of imported goods contain U.S. cotton.
An important development was Gildan and Crafts Americana joining the COTTON USA license program requiring that 100 percent of the cotton in their labeled product be of U.S. origin.
A COTTON USA Orientation Tour participant looks at U.S. cotton lint samples at the USDA cotton classing office in Bartlett, Tennessee.
Worldwide, the Celebration of the International Year of Natural Fibers in 2009 was a great opportunity to bring attention to cotton and stimulate global consumer demand for natural fibers. Outstanding activities included: a CCI-organized T-shirt design competition in ten countries and the Orientation Tour that brought textile manufacturers from Asia, Latin America and Europe to U.S. Cotton Belt.