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Strengthening Partnerships

Mark Lange

Mark Lange

Cotton Council International (CCI), the National Cotton Council’s export promotions arm, conducts numerous successful cotton demand-building events and activities, including the Sourcing USA Summit.

What is the Summit’s purpose?
The biennial event provides first-class networking opportunities that result in promoting cotton and COTTON USA and increasing U.S. cotton sales. In the Summit business forums, internationally recognized speakers tackle topics affecting the global cotton industry – not the least of which is finding ways to seize market opportunities and overcome competition from man-made fibers.

The Summit also enables the U.S. cotton industry to emphasize its commitment to responsible cotton production and to its global cotton supply chain partners. The event is organized in cooperation with CCI, Cotton Incorporated and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

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NCC Chairman Wally Darneille delivered the opening address at the recent 2014 Sourcing USA Summit.

What were some 2014 Summit highlights?
The 2014 Sourcing USA Summit held in November in Scottsdale, Ariz., brought together more than 420 leading global sourcing compa- nies. This provided extensive opportunities for U.S. exporters to meet with their customers from all over the world. The U.S. cotton industry also was able to highlight U.S. cotton’s quality and our industry’s value-added services to this valued audience. An integral part of that story is that cotton is “a great product, is natural, comfortable, real and fashionable.” And it adds value throughout the supply chain. It’s cool and casual, as in denim jeans and cotton T-shirts, and it is the fabric of choice for the hottest fash- ion designers. U.S. cotton producers and manu- facturers use inventiveness, persistence and the latest technology to bring out the best in nature. By the time U.S. cotton gets to the market, it is a first-class, high-value material.

In addition to the networking opportunities, the 2014 Summit featured many notable speakers. That included Thomas Glaser, vice president, VF Corporation, and president, Supply Chain, and Steven Sare, senior vice president, Fast Retailing Group, and chief merchandising officer, UNIQLO USA. Both companies are commit- ted to using cotton. Both of them spoke of technology’s importance and the need for responsibility in production – both of which are part of
U.S. cotton’s promise to the entire supply chain – all the way to consumers.

Jeff Rosensweig, director of the Global Perspectives Program at Goizueta Business School of Emory University, forecasted a global economic recovery that will drive demand for apparel, especially in developing countries. Gary Adams, the NCC’s vice president, Economics & Policy Analysis, told attendees that rebuilding demand is important as the supply/demand forecast points to a continued large supply of stocks, especially in China. Summit speaker presentations are available on www.sourcingusasummit.com for Summit attendees to log in and view.

Mark Lange is the president and chief executive officer for the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.