It is a bit naïve to think that succeeding in any type of global industry will be easy. Complex international logistics and language barriers are givens in any business, and cotton has more than a few other hurdles as well. Fortunately, the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) is perfectly suited to address those challenges, and will take a big step in that direction during the 72nd Plenary Meeting of the ICAC in Cartagena, Colombia, Sept. 29 through Oct. 4.
Some of the issues to be addressed include:
the use of multiple phytosanitary certificates around the world,lack of acceptance of electronic documents,difficulties in identifying shipments that have been misdirected,the identification of cotton samples as hazardous cargo by courier companies, anda lack of standardized format for sending data from gins to HVI labs.
The First Breakout Session will be led by ICAC’s Private Sector Advisory Panel (PSAP) and will explore ways of encouraging the industry and government to facilitate trade in cotton by reducing friction in cotton trade.
“The PSAP has provided several recommendations to the ICAC in recent years that would improve efficiencies in cotton trading,” says former PSAP Chairman Manfred Schiefer, president of M. Schiefer Trading Co. “During last year’s Plenary Meeting in Interlaken, Switzerland, Panel Chairman Alois Schoenberger called for a subcommittee to be established to further study any improvements that could be made and be recommended to ICAC.”
At this point, the subcommittee is focusing on the following issues:
Standardization of phytosanitary certificates. ICAC will work with the standing committee coordinating agencies and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat to raise awareness of this issue.
World bale numbering systems. “The subcommittee feels that having all producing countries add their country telephone prefix at the start of their bale numbers would help merchants and freight companies identify shipments that have gone awry,” Schiefer says. “It happens more than you might think. Adding a country prefix would also help spinners in importing countries to identify bale growths in their storage facilities.”
Hazardous cargo designations. The committee will work with international associations of freight forwarders to eliminate the categorization of cotton samples as hazardous cargo. This would be particularly beneficial for countries in West Africa and the Ukraine, Schiefer says.