Participants in international trade in many countries are organized into national cotton associations, many with an international character. The membership of some associations includes both domestic and foreign organizations and individuals. Cotton associations serve the interests of cotton producers, buyers, sellers and consumers by providing trading rules and mechanisms to resolve trade disputes and by serving as arbitration authorities. Cotton associations promote and facilitate cotton trade in a fair and orderly fashion for the benefit of a sound world cotton economy. In addition to maintaining trading rules, cotton associations provide other important services, such as technical and quality arbitration, traditional and HVI classing, forums for international conferences and discussions of cotton affairs, training seminars around the world, market information and statistics.
Seventeen of the largest cotton associations with similar objectives comprise the Committee for International Co-operation between Cotton Associations, which was established in 1976. Each of the CICCA member associations acts independently, but uses CICCA as a forum for discussion and collective action when appropriate. CICCA promotes trading rules and arbitration practices of its member associations and stands for the concept of sanctity of contracts and good trading practices. CICCA objectives include assistance in ensuring that dispute resolution procedures are adhered to and any consequential awards upheld. CICCA circulates to member organizations a consolidated list of firms reported to have failed to properly comply with valid arbitration awards made by member-organizations. It also publishes a directory of all firms affiliated with its member associations. Membership in the 17 CICCA member associations accounts for more than 1,000 firms associated with the cotton industry. Members of these associations handle the bulk of world cotton trade.
The Association Cotonnière Africaine - African Cotton Association was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Cotonou, Benin. It has 25 active members involved in cotton ginning and marketing from 14 African countries, 6 associate members (producer associations, textile companies, oil crushing companies), and 41 corresponding members (transport companies, forwarding agents, banks, insurance companies, cotton merchants, foreign cotton associations). The Association was founded out of concern shared by many of the producing countries about government policies in some of the major producing countries subsidizing cotton production and leading to market distortions. The Association serves as a forum for experience-sharing between African cotton companies, and works with other international associations on upholding fair cotton trading rules and the sanctity of contracts. Informational and educational work plays an important part in the association's activity.
The Australian Cotton Shippers Association was established in 1984. It comprises the 12 major merchants in Australia. The association trading rules serve to achieve the major objectives of the association, including preserving the sanctity of contracts, the integrity of the Australian trading industry, and facilitating compliance with contractual obligations and adherence to arbitration awards. The association promotes the interests of its members in overseas markets.
The Belgian Cotton Association is composed of about forty Belgium-based merchants, brokers, spinners and controllers, and foreign firms registered as associate members. Major functions of the association include maintenance of trading rules and arbitration. The association has an Executive Committee of the Chamber of Arbitration, which issues value differences for cotton of different origins. Twelve arbitrators serve in quality and commercial arbitrations and appeals. The annual report of the association includes data on Belgian and international cotton markets. International cotton merchants and representatives from Belgium and abroad attend the annual dinner of the Belgian Cotton Association.
The Bolsa de Mercadorias & Futuros (BM&F) in São Paulo, Brazil, was founded in 1917. It is an exchange where gold, currencies, and a number of agricultural commodities, including cotton, are traded in futures and cash markets. The exchange includes the elements of an association of cotton traders and as such is a member of CICCA. BM&F plays an important role in regulating domestic trade, exports and imports of cotton in Brazil. It provides classification services and establishes standards for Brazilian cotton. BM&F settles disputes between traders and provides arbitration. A special committee at the exchange fixes value differences for different grades in relation to cotton type 6. A substantial portion of all contracts traded in Brazil are made subject to the rules of BM&F and are registered with the exchange. The exchange collects and publishes statistics related to cotton and is active internationally in promoting the sanctity of contracts and fair trading practices.
The China Cotton Association was established by cotton farmers, cotton farmers cooperative organizations, enterprises engaged in cotton production, purchase, processing, cotton textile enterprises, cotton research institutes and other organs. It is a non-profit organization under the supervision of the Ministry of Civil Affairs and receives the professional guidance of the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives. CCA aims at protecting the fundamental interests of its members and the cotton industry and at making contributions to the sound development of the Chinese cotton industry. The main functions of CCA are to provide services to its members including information and statistics, to organize personal training, technical exchanges and international cooperation, and to formulate and supervise the implementation of the rules, regulations and standards of the cotton sector.
Cotton traders founded the Alexandria Cotton Exporters Association (ALCOTEXA) in 1932. As a non-profit and non-trading organization, ALCOTEXA deals only with issues related to Egyptian cotton. Non-members of ALCOTEXA are not allowed to trade cotton in Egypt. Membership in ALCOTEXA includes cotton trading and ginning companies. All exports of cotton from Egypt are subject to the terms of the Egyptian Contract. The association has a board, management committee, expert cotton classers and government sworn experts on the arbitration and appeal boards. All export sales from Egypt are based on Egyptian Testing House Terms, and arbitration is provided in Alexandria. Major functions of ALCOTEXA as a regulative authority include formulating export policy and setting sales prices (indicative or minimum). The association revises export prices weekly, and conducts contract registrations. Twice a year ALCOTEXA publishes The Egyptian Cotton Gazette, which contains a variety of statistics on Egyptian cotton, and articles and data on trade, policy and technical issues.
The Association française cotonnière (AFCOT) is more than 100 years old and has about 80 members, including firms based in France and other countries. Membership includes cotton merchants, agents, shippers, controllers, transport organizations, ports, banks and spinners. AFCOT is ruled by a board of directors composed of members, usually merchants and controllers. AFCOT has several committees, including the Advisory Committee for Arbitration and Supervision of the Types, and the Committee on Value Differences. AFCOT publishes Le Havre General Rules, which regulate contracts for the sale of cotton and arbitration. According to a 2003 estimate, up to 100,000 tons of cotton are traded annually in Europe under AFCOT Rules. AFCOT has a laboratory which is equipped for fibre testing. The association issues a news bulletin to its members with trade statistics and other cotton-related data. The annual dinner of AFCOT is attended by hundreds of cotton representatives from France and abroad.
The Bremen Cotton Exchange was founded in 1872 and represents more than 200 merchants and users of cotton. It provides international trading rules, technical and quality arbitration, traditional andHVI classing. The exchange conducts fibre testing, and research and expert surveys. Trading rules of the exchange regulate trade in raw cotton, linters, cotton and artificial fibre wastes, and provide a basis for quality and technical arbitration and an effective means for the settlement of disputes. The exchange organizes two-yearly International Cotton Conferences dealingmostly with technical issues and seminars where participants receive training in cotton classing and other technical subjects. The Bremen Cotton Exchange provides statistics and information on the domestic and international cotton market, technical issues, value differences, freight and insurance. The Bremen Fiber Institute (Faserinstitut Bremen) was founded in 1969 to serve as laboratory for the exchange. The institute's research is focused on cotton fibre properties for processing.
The East India Cotton Association (EICA), now known as the Cotton Association of India, was established in 1921 and has about 400 members including buyers, sellers, brokers, exporters, importers and other participants in the cotton market. EICA bylaws provide trading rules for spot and forward sales of cotton. EICA is managed by the Board of Directors through various subcommittees. There are 18 regional associations and 10 marketing societies registered under it. The Rules of EICA provide mechanisms for arbitration and settlement of disputes. EICA has a panel of sworn surveyors, an umpire and a provision for appeal. One of the major functions of the association is to prepare and maintain grade and staple standards of all varieties grown in India. The association has a laboratory for fibre quality evaluation and conducts HVI cotton fibre testing. The Daily Rates Committee fixes and releases daily prices for various descriptions and staples and grades. EICA publishes other market data in its weekly bulletin. The bulk of cotton traded in India is regulated by the rules of the EICA Non-Transferable Specific Delivery Contract.
The Federazione Imprese Tessili e Moda Italiene (SMI-ATI), formed from the merger of Sistema Moda Italia (SMI) and the Associazione Tessile Italiana (ATI), came into being on 1 October 2005. The federation has about 2,000 members representing all the textile-fashion chain, from yarn to clothing. The federation safeguards and promotes the interests of its members and represents the textile and clothing industry on issues related to international trade, trade duties and quotas, currency and customs regulations. It provides training and consulting services to its members and is a major source of economic and statistical data through a variety of publications. SMI-ATI maintains contacts and negotiates with Italian government authorities and trade unions in the industry. Substantial efforts are devoted by the federation to the promotion of cotton textile products at fashion shows.
ATI dates back to 1883 and had close to 300 member firms operating in raw cotton marketing, cotton and linen spinning, weaving and finishing. The Raw Cotton Arbitration Chamber operates within the association and serves to resolve disputes arising from cotton contracts based on the trading rules. The association has a technical laboratory equipped with modern instruments used for cotton fibre tests and research.
The Japan Cotton Traders Association was founded during the 1950s. It is composed of about 80 Japanese cotton importers, domestic raw cotton traders and firms engaged in related businesses, such as shipping agents, transportation and warehousing, banks and insurance. Members of the association handle the bulk of cotton imports in Japan and imports by Japanese-owned spinning mills in other Asian countries. The major objective of the association is to strive for the sound development of cotton imports and domestic trade, trying to improve the basic terms and conditions for trade. The association is entitled to settle any claim or dispute that may arise in connection with the import and domestic trade of cotton. JCTA makes recommendations to the Government and its agencies, and cooperates with other international associations and organizations on issues related to cotton trade. JCTA conducts research and collects statistics related to cotton and issues a number of publications, including a statistical yearbook.
The Karachi Cotton Association was established in 1933 to regulate and facilitate domestic and export trade in cotton. It has about 250 members, including cotton growers, ginners, textile mills, exporters, commission houses and others. KCA is ruled by a 21-member board of directors, of which 17 are elected annually from the membership of KCA and 4 are nominated by the Government, representing the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce, Finance and Industry. The Rates Committee of KCA, appointed by the board, establishes daily spot rates based on cotton transactions throughout the country. KCA Bylaws and Rules regulate cotton trade and provide arbitration of disputes between parties. KCA provides traders with contract forms and adopts standards for cotton. The Association issues a daily cotton market report, containing information on spot prices and other statistics related to cotton. KCA advises the Government on various aspects of cotton policy and maintains liaison with ginners and textile mills. The association founded the KCA Institute of Cotton Grading and Classing, which provides training to representatives of the cotton industry.
The Gdynia Cotton Association (GCA) was founded in 1935 and is composed of over 100 member companies from 15 countries. Membership of GCA includes cotton textile mills, cotton merchants and research institutions. GCA bylaws and rules are used as the basis for international cotton contracts and stipulate in detail cotton arbitration and testing procedures. The major objectives of the Gdynia Cotton Association include settlement of quality and technical disputes arising from cotton trade by the Court of Arbitration of GCA, laboratory quality testing and representation of members' interests before government authorities and international organizations. GCA provides cotton classification courses for cotton classers in Polish, English and Russian languages and publishes value differences tables and a directory of member firms. It organizes international discussions at the two-yearly International Cotton Conferences in Gdynia. The association collects statistics on cotton imports and consumption in Poland.
The Centro Algodonero Nacional was founded in 1903. It represents all the sectors related to the marketing of raw cotton and its subproducts. The major objectives of CAN are to create fair trading conditions and to promote the sanctity of contracts. The rules of CAN are internationally known and recognized as the Barcelona Contract. CAN has the capacity for quality arbitration and appeals. It has a laboratory, which can perform fibre testing. Membership of CAN includes more than 100 individual members, cotton firms and associate members. Member firms and about 30 individual members operate as cotton merchants, agents or brokers. It is estimated that most cotton sales in Spain are made subject to Barcelona rules. CAN provides a variety of services to its members, and disseminates cotton information and statistics.
The Izmir Mercantile Exchange in Turkey was founded in 1881. Like BM&F in São Paulo, the Izmir exchange functions as a trading platform for spot sales of cotton and as an association of cotton traders. The exchange serves as a price discovery instrument for spot sales of cotton and has been engaged in designing a cotton futures contract for potential introduction on the exchange-trading floor. The exchange maintains trading rules, and provides information and statistics.
The origins of the International Cotton Association date back to 1841 when cotton brokers in Liverpool formed an association and drew up a set of trading rules. In 1882, merchants joined brokers and formed a new association named the Liverpool Cotton Association. To reflect the membership base and the mature of the association's business activities, the association was renamed the International Cotton Association on 9 December 2004. The membership of ICA includes buyers and sellers of cotton, international merchants, government marketing organizations, spinners, banks, cotton controllers and others involved in the cotton business.
ICA Bylaws and Rules are widely accepted and cover all aspects of international trade. Membership in ICA is in excess of 300 registered firms in over 60 countries worldwide. It is estimated that over 60% of the world's cotton trade is bought and sold under ICA Bylaws and Rules. ICA provides a well-established two-tier arbitration system for both quality and technical (non-quality) disputes. Contracts written under ICA Rules are subject to the laws of England, but arbitration awards can be legally enforced in most cotton trading countries. If a firm refuses to abide by arbitration or appeals a decision, that firm is included on a default list, which is distributed worldwide. The ICA provides training on international trade in cotton at an annual marketing seminar in Liverpool and seminars in other countries. The ICA annual dinner is one of the major world cotton events and is usually attended by hundreds of members and guests of the Association.
Established in 1924, the American Cotton Shippers Association is the national trade association in the United States of cotton merchants, cotton shippers and exporters of raw cotton, primary buyers, mill service agents, and of firms allied with these services. Its membership comprises four federated associations: Atlantic Cotton Association; Southern Cotton Association; Texas Cotton Association; and Western Cotton Shippers Association. ACSA has about 150 member firms, which handle an estimated 80% of the cotton sold to domestic mills in the United States and overseas. The association takes an active part in promoting the increased use of United States cotton in the United States and throughout the world, establishing with other cotton trade organizations national and international standards for trade, collaboration with producer organizations throughout the cotton belt in formulation farm programmes and cooperating with government agencies in the administration of such programmes. The ACSA International Cotton Institute is an eight-week residential programme designed to provide a basic education in all aspects of the cotton industry.