By Mark Lange
The National Cotton Council’s export promotions arm, Cotton Council International (CCI), is capitalizing on more than 55 years of experience in creating, building and filling the global demand for U.S. cotton fiber and products.
What is CCI’s mission?
CCI strives to increase exports of U.S. cotton, cottonseed and manufactured cotton products. From the initial mill buyer of cotton fiber or purchaser of U.S. cotton-rich yarns and fabrics on through to consumers, CCI carries out activities under its 1) COTTON USA Advantage programs of: Fiber Servicing, U.S.-Made Textile Promotions, COTTON USA Mark Licen-sing/Promotion and Generic Cotton Promotion and 2) Supply Chain Marketing programs which match mills, brands and retailers with leading U.S. cotton product suppliers. The key to their success is the attention called to U.S. cotton’s positive qualities.
What are some specific success stories?
First of all, CCI’s Fiber Servicing activities have been highly successful in promoting premium U.S. cotton fiber to global textile executives. CCI has been particularly successful in the Western Hemisphere where the COTTON USA Sourcing Program has led to U.S. exports valued at more than $30 million. Recently, for example, 11 U.S. textile mills, 10 U.S. uniform companies and seven U.S. and Mexican brands/retailers used the Sourcing Fair in Mexico to partner with textile and apparel manufacturers from 44 companies in the Andean Region, Central America, Caribbean and Mexico. In Peru, the Sourcing Program brought together seven U.S. mills, 15 Latin American and European retailers, and 47 Andean, Central American and Mexican apparel manufacturers. CCI’s promotion expertise has been so successful that 12 U.S. mills joined the COTTON USA Sourcing Program in 2011.
CCI’s Cotton Fiber Education Program focuses on increasing consumer demand for 100 percent cotton products, including the rapidly developing economies of China and India and the important Western Hemisphere markets. The Program brings foreign retailers and trading companies to the U.S. Cotton Belt to showcase the technology, quality and cost advantages of U.S. cotton’s types and qualities; to demonstrate U.S. cotton sustainability practices; and to further deepen these customer relationships. Last month, for example, 22 yarn spinners and manufacturers from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico got a close look at U.S. production, processing and marketing and met with U.S. exporters. Their firms are expecting to consume about 925,000 bales – of which 756,000 bales will be U.S. cotton – in 2011-12.
CCI also sends a powerful message to consumers, providing reassurance of U.S. cotton’s natural comfort and high quality through its worldwide registered COTTON USA Mark. CCI supports its 500-plus COTTON USA global licensees through point-of-sale promotions, multimedia consumer campaigns and public relations efforts aimed at increasing sales of COTTON USA Mark-labeled products at retail. The United Kingdom-based Marks & Spencer, Christy and John Lewis, for example, are three of hundreds of COTTON USA licensees that have significantly increased U.S. cotton usage in their towels, linens and other home textiles. More information about CCI and its dynamic programs and activities can be found at http://www.cottonusa.org.
Mark Lange is president and chief executive officer for the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.