Eleven textile industry leaders from Turkey will tour the U.S. Cotton Belt on May 7-17 as part of a COTTON USA Special Trade Mission.

Sponsored by the Cotton Council International, the event is designed to build trading ties between the U.S. cotton industry and textile industry leaders from key Turkish mills.

“These textile executives will view the advanced state of the U.S. industry and have the opportunity to meet with U.S. cotton exporters and other industry leaders,” said CCI President John Mitchell, a Cordova, Tenn., merchant. “This is an important opportunity for U.S. cotton because the individual mills on the tour consume a total of more than 570,000 bales, with U.S. imports of about 345,000 bales.

Mitchell noted that Turkey is: 1) the world’s fourth largest cotton consumer with an estimated total domestic consumption of 5.9 million bales in ’10-11; 2) the world’s third largest importer of cotton, with 3.2 million bales estimated for 2010-11; and 3) the second largest customer of U.S. cotton — with the 2.2 million plus bales of U.S. cotton that country already has imported in 2010-11.

The Turkish group will begin their tour activities in New York City with a briefing from CCI on May 8 and a seminar with ICE Futures on May 9. Later that day in Raleigh, N.C., they will meet with representatives of AMCOT, the Southern Cotton Growers, Inc. and Cotton Incorporated, whose headquarters in nearby Cary they will tour the next day.

After attending the American Cotton Shippers Assoc. annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 11, the group will travel to Memphis where they will tour the USDA classing office and have meetings with NCC staff at its headquarters and with AMCOT.

On May 13, the contingent will be in Lubbock for a meeting with the Lubbock Cotton Exchange, AMCOT, the Texas Cotton Association and Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.

The tour will conclude in California on May 16 with a meeting in Bakersfield with the Western Cotton Shippers Association, AMCOT, the San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association and Supima.

The mills represented on the tour are Abateks, Aral Tekstil, Bossa, Gap Guneydogu, Has Cevher, Ilsan, Karacasu, Malatya Iplik, Markeks, Mina Texstil and Ozcicek.