Error processing SSI file
NEWS RELEASE 01-028; March 1, 2001
March 1, 2001
News Release 01-028
U.S. COTTON TRADE SURPLUS DECLINES, REPORTS ITC
The United States experienced a declining trade surplus in cotton from 1995 to 1999, fueled by
decreasing exports to East Asian markets, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)
in its publication Industry and Trade Summary: Cotton.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently released the report as
part of an ongoing series of reports on thousands of products imported into and exported from
the United States. Following are highlights from the report:
- The United States is an important producer of cotton, supplying approximately 20 percent
of world output. Production totaled 3.7 million metric tons in marketing year (MY) 1999,
of which 147,000 metric tons was extra-long staple (ELS) cotton. Other major producers
include China, India, Pakistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, Franc-Zone Africa, and
- U.S. cotton farming and ginning is becoming increasingly concentrated, while at the same
time, total harvested acreage is increasing. In 1969, nearly 200,000 cotton farms harvested
11.5 million acres (4.7 million hectares); by 1997, only 31,456 farms were harvesting
13.2 million acres (5.3 million hectares). Over the last twenty years, the number of
domestic cotton gins declined nearly 52 percent, from 2,251 to 1,084. Per acre yields
inched upward and costs declined during 1995-99 through the use of transgenic seeds,
insect eradication programs, and land management techniques.
- Domestic cotton farmers are supported by a patchwork of government programs designed
to stabilize income during severe price volatility, provide timely cash flow, and maintain
competitiveness in U.S. and foreign markets. Some of the programs include marketing loss
assistance payments, marketing assistance loans, loan deficiency payments, and a three-
step competitiveness program.
- The United States remains by far the largest exporter of raw cotton, accounting for
18 percent-27 percent of annual world exports during MY 1995-99. In 1999, the United
States held an $832 million trade surplus with its trading partners, down from $2.5 billion
in 1998. Major export markets include textile-producing countries in East Asia, such as
Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, as well as Canada, Mexico, and Turkey. U.S.
imports of cotton in 1999 totaled $136 million, and major suppliers included Greece,
China, Syria, Egypt, and Argentina. Imports fluctuated substantially during 1995-1999,
varying from a high of $283 million in 1996 to a low of $3 million in 1997. Import
suppliers also shifted considerably over the five-year period.
- The U.S. consumers of raw cotton are textile mills that process the fibers into yarns and
threads. These intermediate products are then consumed downstream producing hundreds
of items, including wearing apparel; home furnishings, such as draperies, upholstery
fabrics; towels, wash cloths, sheets, pillowcases; and rugs; and industrial use products,
such as medical supplies and industrial thread. Consumer demand for cotton is closely
linked to fashion trends, home sales, and competitive pricing vis-a-vis man-made fibers.
The foregoing information is from the ITC report Industry and Trade Summary: Cotton (USITC
Publication 3391, January 2001).
ITC Industry and Trade Summary reports include information on product uses, U.S. and foreign
producers, and customs treatment of the products being studied: they analyze the basic factors
affecting trends in consumption, production, and trade of the commodities, as well as factors
bearing on the competitiveness of the U.S. industry in domestic and foreign markets.
This report will be available on the ITC Internet web site at www.usitc.gov. A printed copy may
be requested by calling 202-205-1809, or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S.
International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be
faxed to 202-205-2104.
-- 30 --