One of the largest ever contingents of global cotton purchasing power convened in Scottsdale, Ariz., Nov. 16-19, to attend the 2006 Sourcing USA Summit.

The event is coordinated by Cotton Council International, the National Cotton Council's export promotion arm. Under a theme of “Strengthening Enduring Partnerships,” the event was organized to provide textile mill executives with management/trend information and networking opportunities that can drive their cotton businesses forward.

The summit attracted 190 international cotton buyers from 28 countries. Data collected by the NCC on 72 percent of those buyers revealed that group's total cotton consumption to be about 18.4 million bales.

“To put that into perspective, the cotton consumption of less than three-fourths of the expected summit participants represents 6.2 million bales more than were represented by all participants at CCI's 2004 summit,” said Allen Helms, NCC chairman. “This same group also consumes about 8.8 million bales of U.S. cotton — and (buys) some 55 percent of expected 2006 U.S. cotton exports.”

The data also show that 28 percent (of the 72 percent of participants data were available on) are vertically integrated organizations — they spin, knit and/or weave and participate in apparel production and/or retail activities. Those 29 percent account for 92 percent of all the U.S. cotton consumption represented at the summit.

“This group of global cotton buyers represents a huge opportunity,” said David Burns, CCI president and Laurel Hill, N.C., cotton producer. “The summit provides a forum where we can detail U.S. cotton's unique attributes and its superior technical services to these important international customers. U.S. cotton needs this exposure because our industry is exporting significantly more raw fiber than it did at the turn of the century.”

NCC economists said 2005-06 was the fifth consecutive marketing year of record high U.S. raw cotton exports.

The summit was successful in offering the attendees help with textile market sourcing challenges. Presentations ranged from economics, innovation and consumer marketing to the challenges and opportunities facing the global cotton complex.