Cotton USA starts grand plans for the Philippines

Chrisee Dela Paz
Cotton USA starts grand plans for the Philippines
The brand aims to grow 5% in 2015, but that all depends on the number of licensees it can close in the country

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine cotton industry is faced with a big competitor right in its own backyard: United States cotton sector officials flew here to hunt for local manufacturers that will carry their products.

Cotton Council International ASEAN Representative Kraipob Pangsapa said the demand for cotton grew in the Philippines, but the use of US cotton shrank.

“We want to grow by 5% this year in terms of products sold. Hitting it will depend on the number of licensees we close here. The growth would be exponentially fast should we seal deals with Philippine manufacturers,” Pangsapa said on the sidelines of the Cotton USA relaunch in the country.

The Philippines has been consuming an average of 40,000 metric tons of lint per year valued at P3 billion ($66.57 million). At least 97% of that is being imported mainly from the US, the Cotton Council International said.

Major setback

Although the Philippines has a favorable soil and climate to grow cotton, the local industry has been enduring a major setback because of several socio-economic and technical factors, such as the cotton bollworm issue.

Bollworm is any larva or moth that attacks the fruiting bodies of certain crops, especially cotton. Thus genetically-engineered Bt cotton was introduced to reduce the use of synthetic insecticides in fighting such pest.

To help address the rising demand of cotton here in the Philippines, Pangsapa said Cotton USA plans to partner with two big local brands. He, however, did not disclose further details. (READ: PH agriculture: Why is it important?)

“We don’t sell any products but we partner with manufacturers here to introduce US cotton. Then we can introduce them to buyers,” Pangsapa said.

Cotton Council International has 19 licensees divided into 6 categories in the Philippines: Women’s wear, men’s wear, men’s innerwear, children’s wear, home textiles, and personal care.

 MORE LICENSEES. ASEAN Representative Kraipob Pangsapa and Ana Palabyab-Rufino discuss the importance of cotton in everyday wear. Photo from Cotton Council International

Keeping the momentum

It was in 1994 when Cotton USA brand was introduced to garment manufacturers and consumers in the Philippines. Consumers may see the brand displayed on garments and merchandising shelves.

On June 26, the Cotton Council International, marketing and promotions arm of the United States cotton industry, formally re-launched its 26-year-old flagship brand Cotton USA in the Philippines.

“Our brand has been highly successful,” Cotton Council International President Dahlen Hancock said.

“However, the global marketplace has changed dramatically and has become more competitive because petroleum-based fibers are often cheaper.

“The new generation of consumers need to hear why cotton is such a wonderful product and why U.S. cotton is the premier cotton for textile and garment manufacturers and consumers,” Hancock added. (READ: PH farmers endangered species)

Pangsapa added that the usage of raw US cotton has contracted a bit in the country, but if you are looking at consumer and retail side, the Philippines is stronger than Thailand.

“So our target is promote US cotton here and keep [the] cotton momentum going,” Pangsapa said. –

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