China consumes over a third of the world’s cotton crop and imports over 40% of the volume traded on the world market. Chinese textile exports totaled US$ 84 billion last year, compared with Brazil’s US$ 2 billion, which was still record-breaking.
This information was provided today in São Paulo by the president of the National Association of Cotton Exporters (Anea), Antônio Esteve, who participated in the seminar, "Chinese Agriculture – Evolution, Trends, and its Impact on International Trade," sponsored by the Commodities and Futures Exchange (BM&F) and the Brazil-China Business Council.
"China is fascinating in its apparently endless capacity to consume and frightening in the voracity with which it produces," Esteve remarked, referring especially to the Chinese textile sector.
"With the end of international quotas, Chinese exports exploded, to the point where the United States, the European Union, and Brazil are discussing restricting the entry of its products," he added.
For Esteve, the Chinese textile industry, while it may threaten the sector in Brazil, could also be a big market for the country’s cotton producers.
"The production and exportation of cotton, a crop that is expanding in Brazil, could increase greatly in the wake of the global advance of Chinese textiles and clothing," he pointed out.
Esteve talked about the challenges faced by Brazilian producers to export more to the Chinese. He affirmed that the adoption of safeguards against Chinese products should not have any impact on Brazilian cotton exports there.
According to Esteve, the Chinese prefer to import cotton with fewer leaves, cleaner, and of superior quality, and the cotton that Brazil is producing is of average quality.
The Brazilian product, however, could easily be improved through slightly more careful harvesting and processing, and, to the extent that Brazil improves its quality standard, the country will have more access to this important market.
Last year Brazil exported 330 thousand tons of cotton, of which only 15 thousand, a very low sum, went to China.