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Asian tour highlights U.S. cotton

Cotton Council International (CCI) President Michael Adams, who recently returned from a whirlwind tour of northeast Asia, affirmed that U.S. cotton still is the most preferred fiber in the world.

"U.S. cotton is the most preferred fiber in the world, and the U.S. cotton producer is the ultimate standard that every country is trying to emulate,” Adams said. “Even though price dictates procurement, the U.S. cotton industry’s seven segments can rest assured that CCI remains committed to enhancing their image in this highly competitive global cotton marketplace by emphasizing the high standards by which U.S. cotton producers grow, harvest, gin and warehouse their product.”

Adams’ tour was in conjunction with the annual “Cotton Day” event which featured a week of activities in Japan, Korea and Taiwan showcasing the continued importance of cotton at both the trade and consumer levels. The event is sponsored by CCI, the export promotions arm of the National Cotton Council, along with Cotton Incorporated.

While noting that CCI has offices in China, Hong Kong, Korea, London, Washington and Memphis, Adams said CCI does an outstanding job promoting U.S. cotton overseas.

“With our domestic textile industry consuming less than half of what it did just 10 years ago, the U.S. needs as much exposure overseas as possible to move our cotton into the export market,” said Adams, who serves as director of export sales for Staple Cotton Cooperative Association (Staplcotn) in Greenwood, Mississippi. “The U.S. infrastructure is capable of exporting 18 million bales annually and it is a tremendous asset having CCI representing our cotton producers’ interest in consuming markets worldwide."

Adams said that hundreds of consumers and trade representatives in Japan, Korea and Taiwan celebrated “Cotton Day.”

Cotton Day in Japan featured top regional celebrities such as Masami Nagasawa, Momoko Kikuchi and Tsuyoshi Shinjo, who were selected for their commitment to the "cotton lifestyle." They donated their favorite cotton clothing, which will be auctioned online with proceeds benefiting UNICEF. More than 100 print and broadcast media representatives and 250 guests from the Japanese textile-apparel industry attended Cotton Day in Japan, which was held in cooperation with the Japan Spinners' Association, the Japan Cotton Promotion Institute and the Japanese textile industry.

Cotton Day Korea highlighted cotton's role in the family. The "Cotton Twins Contest" featured sets of twins showcasing their original cotton apparel designs. U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow presided over the event. In addition, through cooperation with the Spinners and Weavers Association of Korea, CCI gave young Korean designers an opportunity to showcase their creativity through a T-shirt design contest.

In Taiwan, Cotton Day featured the launch of a new COTTON USA consumer web site that will better allow CCI to communicate programs and services to the consumer and local trade. In addition, CCI Taiwan partnered with the Taipei Children's Museum to create an interactive exhibit titled, "Cotton Kids Fashion Shop." The exhibits will give children a hands-on introduction and education about cotton and other natural fibers through a variety of interactive workstations.

Note: Adams is a part of Staplcotn’s team responsible for international cotton sales outside North America. Prior to joining Staplcotn, he worked 10 years for Dunavant Enterprises Inc. in Memphis, Fresno, and Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Indonesia. A delegate to the National Cotton Council, he also is a graduate of the NCC's Cotton Leadership Program and a past president of the Greenwood (Miss.) Cotton Exchange. The Memphis native is a graduate of California State University at Fresno.

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