THE EXPORT FILES: A SURGE OF U.S. COTTON TO COLOMBIA

WHAT
855% Increase of U.S. cotton sales to Colombia
21,000 Bales of U.S. cotton yarn exported to Colombia
$12 M Value of U.S. cotton yarn exports to Colombia in 2012

HOW
Advent of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
Relationships developed via Cotton Council International

WHY
As American manufacturing has declined, exporting is a critical moneymaker for U.S. textile manufacturers


THE SUBSTANCE

INITIATION
U.S. cotton mills traveled to Colombia to promote their wares—and the face-to-face connections proved invaluable. It all started in 2004, when the COTTON USA Sourcing Program made introductions between cotton suppliers and potential Colombian customers through a private trade fair. Then Cotton Council International (CCI) upped the ante by facilitating six trips for the mills to manufacturers in Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Ibague.

RECIPROCATION
With connections established, the next step was for U.S. mills to participate in Colombiatex, one of the biggest South American textile trade fairs—and show cotton’s incontestable quality. Then CCI sponsored trips for the Colombian yarn customers to visit the American mills. By the time the FTA’S duty-free provisions were fully implemented in 2012, deals were set to surge.

SUBSTANTIATION
Today, six out the participating 13 mills that are exporting to Colombia, representing 75 percent of the United States’ domestic cotton consumption, participate in CCI’s COTTON USA Sourcing Program and export with frequency to Colombia. These mills employ thousands of workers in six states: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Global exports of U.S. cotton yarn reached over $1 billion in 2012. The U.S. is the second-largest supplier of imported yarns in Colombia.

“U.S. cotton mills traveled to Colombia to promote their wares—and the face-to-face connections proved invaluable.”