Textile executives from 14 countries throughout the world will visit the U.S. Cotton Belt Sept. 12-22 to familiarize themselves with U.S. cotton and how the fiber is produced, processed and marketed. The bi-annual COTTON USA Orientation Tour is sponsored by Cotton Council International (CCI).

CCI President John Mitchell, a Cordova, Tenn., merchant, said, "The Orientation Tour is vital to U.S. cotton export performance. For years, this event has enabled our industry to showcase our high quality fiber to important international spinners as well as build and strengthen relationships with these customers."

The 31 participants represent 28 companies in Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. These companies are expected to consume about 3.6 million bales in 2011, 1.3 million of which are estimated to be U.S. cotton – about 11 percent of U.S. cotton exports.

The participating countries are expected to consume about 96 million bales of cotton in 2011-12. This represents about 83 percent of the total annual world cotton consumption. This Tour’s countries also purchased 12.3 million bales in 2010-11, which accounts for 90.25 percent of U.S. cotton exports.

The Tour participants will visit a farm and gin in the Mid-South; observe cotton research in North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas; and tour the USDA cotton classing office in Bartlett, Tenn. They will meet with exporters in the four major Cotton Belt regions and get briefings from CCI, the National Cotton Council, Cotton Incorporated, the American Cotton Shippers Association, the Texas Cotton Association, the Lubbock Cotton Exchange, AMCOT, the Western Cotton Shippers Association, the American Cotton Producers, the Southern Cotton Growers Association, the Delta Council, the Plains Cotton Growers Association, Texas Cotton Producers, the San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association and Supima.

More than 800 textile executives from more than 60 countries have toured the U.S. Cotton Belt via CCI’s Orientation Tour, which was initiated in 1968. The Tour’s objectives are to increase U.S. cotton customers’ awareness of the types/qualities of U.S. cotton, help them gain a better understanding of U.S. marketing practices and enhance their relationships with U.S. exporters. The Tour has led many foreign textile manufacturers to develop an appreciation for U.S. cotton fiber quality and furthered the U.S. cotton industry’s reputation as a reliable supplier. The tour continues to be an excellent vehicle for helping U.S. cotton capture additional market share overseas.