On June 28, the 144th Annual General Meeting of the members of the Association of the Bremen Cotton Exchange took place in the 146th fiscal year. The Board of Directors provided the members with a report on the past financial year and submitted their accounts. In addition, the administrative office informed about its activities in 2017. An essential part of the Assembly was the election of the Board of Directors. In a separate meeting the Board of Directors elected a new President: Jens D. Lukaczik (52), please see TextileFuture’s Personalities for more information.

During the General Assembly, the Board of Directors was also newly elected. New to the Board are Stephanie Silber, Managing Director Otto Stadtlander GmbH, Bremen, Jean- Paul Haessig, RCMA Asia PTE LTD, Singapore and, as a representative of the Swiss textile industry, Peter Spoerry, Spoerry 1866 AG, Flums. Remaining on the Board are Jan Kettelhack,  Hch.  Kettelhack GmbH + Co. KG, Rheine, Konrad Schröer, Setex-Textil-GmbH, Hamminkeln- Dingden, Axel Trede, Cotton Ser- vice International GmbH, Bremen, Hannes Drolle, Getzner Textil AG, Bludenz, Austria and Manfred Kern, Linz Textil Holding AG, Linz, Austria, as a representative of the  Austrian textile   industry.  Rainer Hammer, Otto Stadtlander GmbH, Bremen, who has been a member of the Board since 1996, left the Board, as did Martin Kaegi, Hermann Bühler AG, Winterthur, Switzerland, having been active board member since 2013. The Presidents thanked both for their long-term commitment.

The members of the Board and the Executive Committee represent different areas of the textile supply chain, e.g. trade, processing and logistics. With this diverse expertise, the Bremen Cotton Exchange has access to a comprehensive network and global information resources throughout the cotton industry.

More dynamic in the cotton market

Elke Hortmeyer, Director of Communications and International Relations spoke about the international cotton situation in the reporting year 2017. In the 2016/2017 season, cotton pro- duction recovered from the slump in the previous 2015/16 season. In particular, the normalisation of the weather and climatic conditions compared to the previous season allowed yields to increase by about 10 %. The world’s largest producers were India, China, the USA, Pakistan and Brazil. These 5 countries account for almost 77 % of the total production and all have visibly increased. A further recovery and corresponding increase in production is expected for the current 2017/18 season.

In her presentation, Elke Hortmeyer also looked at the subsidies paid in cotton production. Including direct production aid, crop insurance subsidies and minimum support mech- anisms, these totalled approximately USD 4.5 billion in the 2016/17 sea- son. This represents a decrease of 39% compared to the previous year, where the figure was USD 7.4 billion.

Worldwide cotton consumption is increasing, driven mainly by the four major processing countries China, India, Pakistan and Turkey, as well as Bangladesh and Vietnam, which are experiencing strong growth rates. India and China alone pro- vide half of the world’s spinning mill consumption.

For the 2017/18 season, a global trading volume of approximately 8.4 million tonnes is forecast. The United States continues to be the world export champion, accounting for 38% of world exports. How the trade dispute between China and the US will affect this remains to be seen.

Cotton Exchange active in Textile Partnership

As a founding member, the Bremen Cotton Exchange has been active in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles since 2014. It is represented by Fritz A. Grobien and Elke Hortmeyer. At the General assembly, Dr Uwe Mazura, Managing Director of the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry, in his function as a member of the Steering Committee in the Textile Partner- ship, reported on the current status quo. He explained the influence of the current tense political situation on the Partnership and criticised bureaucratic obstacles in the reporting obligations of its members. Dr Mazura also pointed out that especially through the work of the Cotton Exchange, it has been possible to increase enormously the understanding of the realities of cotton cultivation.

Bremen is an international centre for cotton quality testing

The fact that Bremen continues to be the centre of global cotton quality testing was highlighted in the report by Karsten Fröse, Director of Cotton Quality, Rules and Market. In 2017, there were 22 arbitrages and more than 7000 classifications. In particular as a result of the ICA Bremen certification programme, the standards of the Bremen cotton laboratory have become established as the benchmark for highly valid and com- parable tests. In 2017, another two laboratories were certified, including the cotton testing laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture. The various training courses on cotton quality and testing continue to enjoy great popularity, mostly under the umbrella of the ICA Bremen. In the year under review, a seminar was held in South Korea, as well as one for participants from Togo.

Cotton Exchange building a modern Service Centre

Carmen Wachs, Managing Director responsible for finance and administration, informed the General Assembly about the financial situation in the fiscal year 2017. She reported on the extent of the invest- ments in maintenance and moderni- sation, which help to maintain and increase the attractiveness of the 1902 “Kontor” house, with its his- toric charm, as a modern service centre with 67 companies and the headquarters of the Bremen Cotton Exchange Association in the centre of the Hanseatic city, in compliance with heritage preservation regula- tions. In recent years, a considerable amount of money has flowed into the modernisation of the tower hall, the quality testing laboratories of the ICA Bremen and the renovation of shop units.

Guest speaker on genetically modified cotton

At the end of the General Assembly, there was a speech by Dr Ludger Weß on “Genetically Modified Cot ton: Myths and Reality.” In his presentation, he focused in particular on cotton cultivation in India and its homegrown problems with genetically engineered seeds and the breeding of hybrids. Dr Weß has worked as a writer and commentator since the 1980’s, especially in the field of genetic engineering and modern agriculture.