Cotton Demand and United States-China Trade Dispute Scenarios

Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA

Internationally, the demand for cotton is good. Recently two cotton executives from India visited Lubbock in the High Plains of Texas to explore new developments in the High Plains’ cotton sector and interact with the cotton industry leaders in Lubbock.

Mr. Mahesh Sharda, President of India Cotton Association, Ltd., Bhatinda, Punjab and Mr. Arun Sekhsaria, Director of Mumbai-based Cotton Association of India, who are fifth generation in their families to be involved in cotton trade and production started their day by attending the early morning meeting at Plains Cotton Growers (PCG), Inc.

Indian cotton merchants were impressed at the discussion among various stakeholders in the early morning meeting at the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., in Lubbock. Remarking about the meeting, the team felt, Indian cotton farmers should engage regularly with merchants, government agencies, and local policy makers so that their voices are heard. They stated that they were impressed with the cooperative initiatives such as PCG. Indian government’s schemes such as the support for private-public partnership initiatives are encouraging, which should be effectively utilized to advance the agricultural sector in India.

Consumer preference, expectations for comfort and more importantly, the need for green products in advanced economies will drive the demand for cotton, according to Indian merchants.

The current trade war between the United States and China may not be favorable for the U.S. cotton sector in the long run according to the Indian cotton business men. This situation may help India as cotton can flow from India to China. So, India may need to import cotton from the United States, which has indeed started to happen. This new market dynamics is interesting to watch.

Indian cotton sector leaders visited the Advanced Cotton Laboratory at Texas Tech University and evaluated the cotton oil absorbent technology developed at the laboratory.

In a question from this scribe on what take home messages will they carry for the Indian textiles sector, they stated, the coordination effort which they have witnessed in the United States among various cotton stakeholders and the support for value-added research by cotton farmers are very valuable for the Indian cotton and textile sectors.