Demand for US cotton in China is expected to increase by one million bales over previous years. This is highly significant since there are trade disputes between the two countries. The flow of cotton from the United States to markets several thousand miles away is complex, and any trade dispute surely affects the flow. Though trade wars come and go, an extended trade war can affect the supply chain.
China’s lead as the number one importer of US cotton has eroded in the past two years, but it still imports a significant quantity. Meanwhile US cotton faces other issues. This year’s US cotton is expected to be better than the 2017 crop. The staple length is good and micronaire is returning to normal ranges. But textile processing is shifting away from China to emerging markets in Southeast Asia. The US cotton industry has to consider the flow of cotton to these markets. Providing contamination-free, good quality cotton based on a reasonable delivery schedule is important for the United States to have premium markets.
The US cotton industry has worked hard for many years to build the reputation of being contamination free. The whole industry, from producers to ginners, has to do everything possible to keep plastic out of cotton harvesting and processing.