Textile executives from 14 countries throughout the world will visit the U.S. Cotton Belt on Sept 12-22 to familiarize themselves with U.S. cotton and how the fiber is produced, processed and marketed.

The bi-annual COTTON USA Orientation Tour is sponsored by Cotton Council International (CCI).

CCI President John Mitchell, a Cordova, Tenn., merchant, said, "The Orientation Tour is vital to U.S. cotton export performance. For years, this event has enabled our industry to showcase our high quality fiber to important international spinners as well as build and strengthen relationships with these customers."

The 31 participants represent 28 companies in Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. These companies are expected to consume about 3.6 million bales in 2011, 1.3 million of which are estimated to be U.S. cotton – about 11 percent of U.S. cotton exports.

The tour participants will visit a farm and gin in the Mid-South; observe cotton research in North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas; and tour the USDA cotton classing office in Bartlett, Tenn.

They will meet with exporters in the four major Cotton Belt regions and get briefings from CCI, NCC, Cotton Incorporated, American Cotton Shippers Assoc., Texas Cotton Assoc., Lubbock Cotton Exchange, AMCOT, Western Cotton Shippers Assoc., American Cotton Producers, Southern Cotton Growers Assoc., Delta Council, the Plains Cotton Growers Assoc., Texas Cotton Producers, San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Assoc. and Supima.

More than 800 textile executives from more than 60 countries have toured the U.S. Cotton Belt by way of CCI’s Orientation Tour, which was initiated in 1968.

The tour’s objectives are to increase U.S. cotton customers’ awareness of the types/qualities of U.S. cotton, help them gain a better understanding of U.S. marketing practices and enhance their relationships with U.S. exporters.

The tour has led many foreign textile manufacturers to develop an appreciation for U.S. cotton fiber quality and furthered the U.S. cotton industry’s reputation as a reliable supplier.

The tour continues to be an excellent vehicle for helping US cotton capture additional market share overseas.