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Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you to all of you who have come from far away, to attend our cotton meeting in Deauville. All the global cotton community took part at this wondeful moment.
The Association Française Cotonnière, which was celebrating its 131 th anniversary , met in Deauville on Monday 11th and Tuesday October 12th.
Over 200 people from five continents attended our event.
Every year, for at least half a century, the AFCOT forum has brought together all the players in the international cotton sector. Traders, producers, exporters, controllers, freight forwarders, but also banks, shipping companies, insurance companies, professional federations, institutions or research institutes: each contributes to present the different facets of the cotton sector, its trades, its developments and its outlook.
For two days, the world cotton focused the AFCOT forum.
Participants gathered on Monday for a welcome cocktail.
Tuesday began with a seminar offered by the French Cotton Association and the African Cotton Association. The debates were moderated by the President of AFCOT, Mr. Charles Jannet.
Mr. Michael EDWARDS, Director at COTTON OUTLOOK, Mr. Jérome PERMINGEAT, Managing Director of LE MINOR and Mr. Arnaud CLERISSE of Corporate Risk & Treasury Management Europe Markets of RABOBANK.
To find their presentation as well as all the photos of the different times of these days, go to the new AFCOT website in the section “Our events” then Deauville 2021.
All the participants were then invited to a convivial net working lunch.
This edition 2021 carried interviews of nine business cotton personalities. The interviewereds were asked 3 or 4 questions and the film with their responses will be available soon.
The afternoon was also devoted to business meetings, before all participants gathered for the early evening cocktail, followed by the gala dinner.
During his speech, the President of AFCOT recalled the significant events of this cotton year as well as those of our association. His speech is also online on our site.
The President, the board or Directors of The French Cotton association would like to thank very warmly the three presenters as well as all the AFCOT particpants.
The AFCOT Forum is a big family
AFCOT forum in Deauville, 11th et 12th october 2021
Speech of Mr Charles JANNET
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First and foremost, on behalf of the AFCOT Board of Directors, I would like to thank Curt for his speech and for the work that he accomplished despite the context of the pandemic.
It is with great pleasure and emotion that we are enjoying being in Deauville today.
The organization of this year’s forum is in the image of the period in which we are living: out of the ordinary. AFCOT’s annual event was the result of a subtle balancing act in an ever-changing environment. Last spring, within the management committee, we were unsure which modalities to adopt: face-to-face, digital or a little of both. After much reflection, it seemed to us that nothing could replace the pleasure of being together. Tonight, we are pleased to have 220 people in attendance, from 30 different countries. The AFCOT forum is a big family and your presence is its hallmark. THANK YOU.
I am of course aware of the difficulties that some of you have had to face to get here. I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to you and thank you once again for your efforts in bringing us together tonight.
Like Curt, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Mr. Gerard Kassarian for all his contributions throughout his 10 years as Secretary General.
I am pleased to announce that Emmanuelle Duclos joined us in November 2020 to fill this demanding role. Many of you already know her. It is indeed her previous experience as Secretary General, which she held until 2010, her knowledge of AFCOT, and her ability to manage complex elements that make this moment possible. On behalf of us all, I would like to welcome her once again and look forward to her return among us.
Of course, she has been able to count on the invaluable and unfailing help of Brigitte Houllier whom I also thank warmly.
I would also like to thank all the members of the Board of Directors for having taken on the challenge of organizing today’s event, an effort that has been proven a success by your presence here in Deauville.
I am pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has been enriched by with the addition of two new people, Mr. Jean-Claude Talon from Atral and Mr. Emmanuel Solal from Cam Négoce. We are delighted with these new members who will play an important role in AFCOT, helping us to function better and to collectively reflect on the current issues facing the international cotton market.
I would also like to thank all our official guests presented by our Vice President Laurent Peyre who honor us with their presence, as well as all our partners from cotton companies and related communities.
Finally, I would like to thank the speakers present at this morning’s technical seminar:
Mr. Mike Edwards of Cotlook, a faithful friend of AFCOT, whose analyses once again enlighten us in this turbulent market. Mr. Jérôme Permingeat who shared a contemporary vision of the clothing industry and brought a new point of view on the consumers’ expectations from the clothes they buy. Finally, Mr. Arnaud Clérisse from Rabobank who presented a review of the global economy and the Euro/Dollar exchange rate.
I would like to circle back to Comethi, created at the initiative of our past president Curt Arbenz. I cannot stress enough the fundamental nature and the mission that this platform aims to carry out in the interest of all.
Today, all members of the supply chain must prioritize transparency; for lack of which, suspicion will set in.
Initially a positive differentiation factor, transparency and sustainability are now fundamental elements required by the market. We must be prepared to react to effects of quick escalation within a context of viral over-communication. This is why we are convinced of the value of Comethi.
Great progress has been made. CMiA, BCI, GOTS have helped the sectors, validated protocols, improved practices. These initiatives are validated, audited, verified and can be communicated. Today, a large part of the cotton production in West Africa is already certified. This process must continue and become more widespread.
Also, and above all, there are many programs dedicated to raising awareness and intensifying controls that are already in place that need to be capitalized on and communicated upon further.
With Covid, consumers have increased their online purchases, which represent up to 30% of the demand, or even more. Young consumers today have a responsible approach to their purchases. They want guarantees that the cotton was produced under responsible conditions, and that the entire upstream value chain was also respectful of human, social and environmental rights until the finished product. Today, small retailers are following the lead of large retailers and are committed to having sustainable and responsible supply chains. Consumers and the industry are now ready to move forward!
Beyond certification, the demand is now about traceability. How can we prove the origin of the cotton in a particular garment? BCI is currently thinking about an overhaul of its mass balance system, which is poorly understood by consumers, or not understood at all. Distributors want to identify an origin, a provenance and the associated certification. This must be done through integrated systems that manage this data.
The world is changing, and changing fast.
Jérôme Permingeat has highlighted the prevalence of short and integrated circuits, in which all the players are identified. We need to move in this direction of differentiation.
The AFCOT does not have the vocation to set up traceability systems in the cotton sectors, but it is at your service to highlight the best practices and ensure their promotion in an effective and affective way. At this very moment, a proverb comes to mind: “If you want to go fast, walk alone, if you want to go far, walk together”.
As I write these lines, for the first time in 10 years the market has gone beyond the mythical bar of 100 usc/lb, with the fiber trading around 1300 FCFA/kg.
We can be pleased with these prices. They have risen almost in a straight line from the lows seen in March 2020, at the height of the pandemic, below 50 usc/lb.
This sudden and unexpected recovery has been surprising. The sharp decline in consumption, but also in textile production facilities, did not create the oversupply of cotton that one might have expected. On the contrary, the recovery in consumption was accelerated by home textiles and furnishings, which fell little with remote working and lock-downs. Home furnishings weigh more and are made of 100% cotton, unlike clothing. Meanwhile, some countries such as Pakistan and the United States have experienced production deficits. This plurality of factors has thus neutralized or even energized the balance between supply and demand.
Current prices reflect a situation of increased tension, with strong demand from China, as well as a process of catching up with economic activity in general, reducing global stocks and leaving little room for maneuver. One may wonder about the timing of such a price takeoff, knowing that crops in China, Pakistan, Turkey and India are or will soon be available. Uncertainties certainly remain. Are we at the beginning of a vast upward movement, or rather at the temporary end of an upward cycle, as Shakespeare would say, that is the question!
To use the metaphor that every coin has two sides: the beautiful rise in prices from which all sectors benefit, is accompanied by a new difficulty. With the economic recovery, logistic bottlenecks have been created. While trade had been halted in the spring of 2020, the recovery has been spectacular and has generated major upheavals in terms of equipment and service of the main shipping lines around the world. Their prices have also taken off, sometimes undergoing increases of 5000% depending on the route. At the moment, unfortunately, we have to assume that this situation will continue until 2022.
To conclude, I would like to mention an experience that some of you had this afternoon, the filmed interviews. I thank all of you who have participated. I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this new approach and that it was an opportunity to highlight elements to share or communicate. A montage will be made and published on the AFCOT website in the coming weeks with your cinematic performances!
I have one rallying cry for tonight, for all that brings us together and all that unites us, have a wonderful time!