From October 2-6, 2023, 28 textile mill executives from 15 different countries joined the COTTON USA™ Orientation Tour. The tour, which is funded in part by the Foreign Market Development fund (FMD) and U.S. cotton industry contributions, targets up-and-coming foreign textile executives, many of whom are visiting a cotton-producing country for the first time.
Collectively, these companies are projected to consume 5.7 million bales of cotton in 2023, with U.S. market share accounting for just 50%. To educate this influential audience on the advantages of U.S. cotton and help them develop strong business connections, the weeklong tour visited each of the major cotton-growing regions in the U.S. There, participants gained insights into what sets U.S. cotton apart, including the industry’s research, technology, innovation, and sustainability initiatives. One tour highlight was a visit to a cotton farm and gin, where the executives observed firsthand the exceptional quality of the crop and U.S. cotton producers’ commitment to growing clean, sustainable cotton.
Participants who attended the Orientation Tour expect to purchase an additional 170,000 bales of U.S. cotton, valued at approximately $64 million. Following the activity, one participant shared what they had learned: “The Orientation Tour provided me with a myriad of insights about how the U.S. cotton business really works. Talking to U.S. cotton farmers and traders helped me understand why no other cotton can compete with U.S. cotton!”
At each stop on the Orientation Tour, the participants also had opportunities to network and establish valuable relationships with U.S. cotton industry representatives from the National Cotton Council (NCC), the American Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA), America’s Cotton Marketing Cooperatives (AMCOT), American Cotton Producers (ACP), Cotton Incorporated, and Supima.
Participants were actively encouraged to suggest ways the U.S. cotton industry can enhance its competitiveness in world trade and learned how past Orientation Tours have resulted in positive improvements in the U.S. cotton industry. These collaborative discussions not only promote a sense a partnership between the two groups, but also build confidence in U.S. cotton early in the careers of these executives.