Participants who attended the 2022 COTTON USA™ Special Trade Mission from Pakistan expect to purchase an additional 757,000 million bales of U.S. cotton over the next year, valued at approximately $457 million.
Nineteen textile executives, representing 19 companies from Pakistan, traveled across the U.S. Cotton Belt in July of 2022 to gain a deeper understanding of why U.S. cotton is the world’s preferred natural fiber and to develop business relationships aimed at facilitating the export of U.S. cotton to this important market. Pakistan is currently the third largest cotton consuming country, consuming an estimated 10.8 million bales in MY 2021/22. Consumption is likely to increase in the future given the local government’s goal of expanding the country’s textile industry. The Pakistani government recently announced plans to construct three new garment cities, providing support for domestic textile manufacturing, and creating a long-term need for greater fiber consumption. Due to a lack of good quality domestically grown cotton, Pakistani mills are forced to import better quality cotton and U.S. exports are helping to fill the void, along with competing cottons from Australia, Brazil, India, and West Africa. To combat this competition, Cotton Council International (CCI) activities in Pakistan aim to differentiate U.S. cotton from its competitors by highlighting the advantages of U.S. cotton, including its high-quality, contamination-free properties.
The Special Trade Mission gave the textile executives an opportunity to see first-hand U.S. cotton’s first-class production and processing operations and efforts on environmental responsibility and continuous improvement. During the trip, the group visited all four cotton growing regions in the U.S. and met with multiple segments of the U.S. cotton industry. They toured U.S. cotton farms, gins, warehouses, and ports and met with U.S. cotton industry leaders to learn more about U.S. cotton production. The group also toured USDA’s headquarters for cotton classing in Bartlett TN and USDA’s newest classing office in Lubbock TX. Following these visits, the participants gained a clearer understanding of how U.S. cotton is classed, the different qualities of U.S. cotton, and U.S. cotton improvement initiatives, including bale packaging, a common obstacle these companies face when purchasing U.S. cotton.
After attending, 100% of the participants said they were satisfied with the Special Trade Mission overall and 100% are likely to recommend future Special Trade Missions to their colleagues. The information provided during the trip helped convince these important executives of the advantages of U.S. cotton, with 100% agreeing that U.S. cotton quality is better than cotton from other regions.
The trip also encouraged business relationships between the Pakistani textile executives and U.S. cotton merchants, many of whom were able to meet in-person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 95% of the participants felt their participation in the Special Trade Mission provided them opportunities to develop new business relationships and contacts and as a result, 79% expect to purchase more U.S. cotton in the future.
The Special Trade Mission is funded in part by the Foreign Market Development Fund (FMD).