Four hundred leaders from all major U.S. export companies and the largest cotton mills in the world met in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, this week for the seventh Sourcing USA Summit. Attendees represented 23 countries. Themed “Strengthening Enduring Partnerships,” the Summit provided thought-provoking business forums and ample networking opportunities for U.S. cotton buyers and sellers. The leadership of the U.S. cotton industry, Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), host the Sourcing USA Summit on a biennial basis in an effort to increase cotton fiber exports and further develop the cotton fiber export market.
This year’s Summit business forums addressed current and longer-term economic and business issues with a particular emphasis on global cotton production and trade, global cotton consumption and the economic outlook for the cotton market. Among a number of key topics, the Summit featured panel discussions on “Outlook for Cotton’s Competing Crops” and “Contract Sanctity, Volatility and the Cotton Textile Supply Chain.” The Summit also featured an animated “Bull & Bear” panel of U.S. cotton industry representatives, discussing prices and availability of cotton.
Kicking off the discussion on contract sanctity, Antonio Esteve, representing the International Cotton Association, discussed the severe market disruption that caused billions in risk exposure and losses throughout the cotton supply chain. He said that the ICA is exploring options to bring discipline to contracting, including downstream contracting. Following Esteve’s comments, John Cheh of Esquel stated that the disruptive market did not start with the cotton price spike two years ago, but with the end of quotas a decade ago. Cheh went on to discuss distortions in the market and the havoc those distortions create, particularly the distortion caused by China’s current reserve policy. Amidst the conversations, U.S. cotton growers emphasized their continued commitment to supply mill customers and the entire supply chain with reliable, quality cotton.