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  • Introduction

     
     
    Cotton is an important commodity in the world economy, accounting for trade worth approximately $12 billion in the marketing year 2005/06 (August–July). The guide is based on contributions of renowned professionals from all continents, including international organizations, government authorities, universities, international trading houses, cotton service providers and cotton importing textiles industries. The Cotton Exporter’s Guide covers all the essential components of the cotton trade. Its ambition is to meet the needs of today’s exporters who face many challenges – commercial, technical, logistical, environmental and social – in an increasingly sophisticated and competitive trading environment.

    The Cotton Exporter’s Guide is divided into six chapters.

    Chapter 1 provides an overview of the world cotton market (production, consumption and trade), factors influencing supply and demand, market trends, cotton pricing and Cotlook Indexes, and major issues of the sector, including trade policy and WTO.

    Chapter 2 assesses cotton demand, with sections on textile processing of cotton, physical characteristics of cotton, cotton quality and its determinants, neps and short fibres, the issue of contamination, classing and grading, instrument testing.

    Chapter 3 looks at cotton trading, with sections on packaging, controlling, back office and documentation, freight and shipping, financing, warehouse receipts, insurance, risk management, contracts and arbitration.

    Chapter 4 focuses on cotton marketing and promotion, with sections on e-commerce (Internet auction and electronic paperwork), the New York Board of Trade and the other futures markets, hedging and marketing, the minimum guaranteed price system, the role of merchants in cotton exports and cotton promotion.

    Chapter 5 reviews the market segments with sections on the different types of cotton, conventional and biotech cottons and extra long staple cottons, and highlights the organic cotton market. Chapter 6 presents market profiles of the main importing countries in Asia (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey), with recommendations on how to approach their booming cotton-consuming textile industries. Finally appendices include in particular a detailed list of useful websites for additional information.

    In line with section 12 of the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, which urges ‘Members to promote and support South-South cooperation, including transfer of technology’, the Cotton Exporter’s Guide addresses trade-related problems facing cotton producers and exporters in African and other developing countries, and will help in developing South-South trade linkages between African cotton exporters and Asian cotton importers. The contributors and ITC share the belief that increased efficiency and better understanding of the trade will assist producers and exporters in their quest to maximize their export earnings.

    The Cotton Exporter’s Guide deals only with exports of cotton lint, not carded or combed, also referred to as ‘raw cotton’, exclusive of cotton waste, cotton linters, cotton carded or combed, cotton yarns, cotton fabrics, cotton seeds, cottonseed oil and cakes. In the worldwide system for classification of traded goods commonly referred to as the Harmonized System (HS), the Harmonized Tariff Schedule Code for cotton, not carded or combed, is 5201.00. This code corresponds to subgroup 263.1 in the United Nations Standard International Trade Classification (SITC – Revision 3).