Cotton Council has announced that in 2012/13, some 26.3 million tons of cotton are estimated to be produced worldwide on a surface of 34.3 million hectares. At present, seven countries produce approximately 85 percent of the world market quantity of cotton: China, India, the U.S., Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan and Australia.

Since 1986 the U.S. alone covers between 25 and 30 percent of the world market trade of cotton. In 2012, U.S. exports are estimated at 2.9 million metric tons, explained Allen A. Terhaar, Senior Advisor, Cotton Council International. Thus, the U.S. is still the leading cotton supplier worldwide. The American cultivation region for cotton extends crosswise from the state of California at the west coast to Virginia on the east coast. Altogether, cotton is produced in 17 states of the U.S. The cultivated area amounts to approx. 4.5 million hectares.

Allen Terhaar said: “The quality of cotton has clearly increased over time due to research and successful breeding. The fibres today are, by far, longer and stronger than a few years ago.” In the U.S., cotton is classified as food and is, therefore, subject to legal controls, which are considered among the strictest in the world. In the year 2012/13, worldwide consumption of cotton is estimated at approximately 23.5 million tons. While real clothing expenditures have remained strong in Germany and the UK, they have declined in Italy over the past few years. Study results show that more than half of global consumers believe that better quality clothes are made from 100 percent natural fibres such as U.S. cotton.