Participants who attended COTTON USA™ Conferences in Pakistan expect to purchase an additional 417,000 bales of U.S. cotton, valued at $244 million.
In August of 2022, Cotton Council International (CCI) hosted a U.S. cotton delegation to Pakistan, funded in part by the Market Access Program (MAP). Over 100 textile executives from the country attended COTTON USA™ Seminars in Karachi and Lahore. The delegation also participated in the annual “Inspiring Change” Conference hosted by TEXtalks, Pakistan’s leading resource for all things pertaining to the textile industry. During the trip, the U.S. delegation provided important updates to local industry leaders and participated in panel discussions addressing key industry challenges related to global cotton supply and sustainability. In return, the delegation received updates from the Pakistani textile industry on their textile expansion plans, including the government’s commitment to developing the industry and its ambitious goal of exceeding $25 billion in textile exports by 2025. 90% of the participants were satisfied with the Conferences overall and 100% are likely to recommend future CCI events to their colleagues.
The delegation was timely as recent floods in Pakistan have not only extracted a massive humanitarian toll on the country but have also greatly impacted the domestic cotton situation. Due to the flooding, Pakistani cotton producers estimate they could lose approximately 40% of this year’s cotton crop, which has massive implications for U.S. cotton exports. Prior to the flooding, despite ranking as the 5th largest cotton producer globally, producing 4.5 million bales of cotton in MY 2020/21, mill usage in Pakistan far surpassed domestic production, making the country a net importer of cotton. Now, after the flooding, the need for high quality cotton among local textile manufacturers will be even greater, creating an opportunity for U.S. cotton exports to fill that void.
But U.S. cotton isn’t the only option for Pakistani mills and manufacturers who also import cotton from Brazil, Australia, India, and West Africa. To seize on this opportunity, CCI activities in Pakistan not only emphasize the inherent advantages of U.S. cotton, including its high quality and contamination free properties, but also highlight services available only to U.S. cotton customers that can help take their businesses to the next level. During the Seminars, participants learned about the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol®, a sustainable cotton standard offering members verifiable environmental data and full transparency. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® gives manufacturers the ability to prove their sustainability credentials. This is becoming increasingly important for Pakistani manufacturers who export large quantities of their finished goods to Europe, where brands and retailers have strict sustainability requirements for their suppliers. After the Seminars, 83% of the participants feel that the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® is better than other sustainable fiber programs. Following the events, 3 Pakistani mill companies officially joined the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol® as members and another 6 companies indicated interest in joining the program.
The participants also learned about COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™, the world’s leading cotton consultancy and heard success stories from mills around the world on how COTTON USA SOLUTIONS™ offerings and U.S. cotton have helped their companies improve efficiency, decrease waste, and increase overall profitability. The service is only available to U.S. cotton customers and sets U.S. cotton apart from its competitors as a trusted partner committed to helping the Pakistani textile industry achieve its textile export goals for 2025. Afterwards, 10 companies were interested in learning more about the service and follow-up consultations are scheduled. As a result of their participation in the Seminars, 96% of the participants believe that U.S. cotton quality is better than cotton from other regions and 94% are likely to purchase additional U.S. cotton or U.S. cotton products in the future.