Cotton Council International (CCI), the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) export promotions arm, conducts a wide array of activities to help raise U.S. cotton’s global profile with the ultimate goal of enabling the fiber to command a premium in the world marketplace.
What is CCI’s specific mission?
CCI, whose reach extends to more than 50 countries through 17 offices worldwide, uses trade services and consumer promotion activities to increase exports of U.S. cotton fiber, manufactured cotton goods, cottonseed and their products in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Central and South America. Those activities are carried out under a plan that includes: 1) supply chain development, 2) brand/retailer promotion and support and 3) industry partnership development. The plan has proven very effective in helping CCI address past and current challenges such as 1) alternative fibers (polyesters) being marketed as being higher technology/better performing fibers and 2) younger consumers who are not as familiar with cotton.
USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service plays an integral role in making many of CCI’s programs possible. CCI is a cooperator in the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and the Market Access Program (MAP). CCI’s programs are an effective catalyst for private sector investments with industry investments, both through direct funds and in-kind contributions, totaling $1.31 for every dollar of FMD funds received and $2.02 for every dollar of MAP funds received. Activities carried out using FMD and MAP funds have been documented as contributing to increased export sales of cotton fiber and value-added manufactured cotton products. Independent studies reveal that for every dollar spent by USDA cooperators, including CCI, U.S. exports increase $35. That 35-to-1 return on investment means more than one billion dollars in export value for the U.S. cotton industry and an additional 7,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.
What about recent CCI key initiatives?
Among the many examples of how CCI’s partners are helping boost U.S. cotton exports is the CCI-sponsored biennial Sourcing USA Summit. During the 2014 Summit last November, 420 leading global sourcing companies were brought together. Their networking led to the sale of 300,000 bales of U.S. cotton with U.S. cotton exporters announcing plans to sell another 4.2 million bales – valued at about $1.4 billion.
This past year also saw CCI launch its COTTON USA advertising campaign, “I Love My Cotton,” that is inspiring consumers from Germany to China – to consider both what they wear and how they wear it! All of CCI’s promotional activities are using the redesigned COTTON USA logo. Several U.S. bale packaging manufacturers are now imprinting their materials with this logo. While this NCC-sanctioned program to clearly identify bales of U.S. origin is voluntary, we are pleased to learn that the majority of our ginners have made arrangements this season for their bale packaging materials to include the redesigned COTTON USA logo. This is another effort to distinguish and identify U.S. cotton in the global marketplace.
Gary Adams is president/chief executive officer of the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming magazine page.