REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA (South America) Country Report 2012/13

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1 REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA (South America) Country Report 2012/13 During the last three years the profitability and competitiveness of cotton cultivation has seriously deteriorated. There are several reasons that explain this situation. At the national level the climate has been a severely adverse factor for cotton cultivation given the extreme changes between winter emergencies and severe droughts. The problems of adaptability of imported transgenic seed varieties in some regions have intensified, and the domestic market continues shrinking, both in volume as in the quality of cotton fiber consumed by the Colombian textile industry. At the international level, the increased volatility of prices has negatively affected cotton fiber consumption and stimulated higher contents of other synthetic fibers in products, which in turn lead to higher cotton stocks and low international prices. These cotton facts raise the alarm because cultivation costs have increased, yields have been declining and the financial situation of several cotton firms has seriously deteriorated, forcing them to slow down credit and supplier s payments. Closing Season 2011/2012 and Perspectives 2013 High cotton international prices by the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, boost plantings in the cotton season 2011/2012. Fiber supply increase of 26% in the first half of the year caused marketing problems and therefore financing problems. Expecting to recover from the damages of the winter rains and floods of the end of 2010, many industries started a painful and excessively long process to restructure the associative credits they received, did not receiveenough financing during the 2011/2012 season.

2 In addition, high price volatility greatly harmed consumption and the national industry by reducing the demand for Colombian cotton in the second half of Facing a weak demand, cotton fiber supply was reducedby 54%. There is great discouragement among cotton growers in Colombia for the 2012/2013 season because of the additional reductions of the local textile industry demand for cotton and the commercial conditions that it is offering. Industry has announced lower requirements of cotton fiber for 2013, of which only 40% shall be produced and bought in Colombia and the rest will be imported. This will represent a further downfall of 16% in cotton demand since Great discouragement among Colombian cotton growers for the 2012/2013 season because of falling demand of the national textile industry and the price and commercial conditions offered Industrial Consumption of Cotton Fiber Industry demand in the world and in Colombia is weak because of the high cotton prices during the first half of 2011 and the low levels of world economic growth, especially in Europe and the United States. In Colombia, imports and stocks of the national industry greatly increased during the first half of 2011 due to panic about a potential world shortage of fiber supplies. This situation still impinges on the balances of Colombian textile industries and is partly responsible for the losses registered during the first half of Briefly, consumption of cotton fiber has fallen from tons in 2005 to tons in 2013 ( tons) according to industry forecasts. Besides, greater reductions are seen in cotton consumption for ring spinning (Colombian type), which fell 89% in the same period. Growing imports of yarns, clothes and garments are progressively and rapidly substituting national products and raw materials

3 Performance of the cotton textile apparel productive chain Trade and consumption figures show that an import structure of fibers, threads, textiles and apparelis in process of consolidation and that exports of cotton based textiles and garments are decreasing. Total exports of this chain to the United States went down from 641 million US dollar to 274 million between 2004 and 2011, while imports rose from 234 to 282 million US dollar. Besides, the world trade balance of this chain turned negative since 2010 showing deficits of 520 million US dollars in 2010 and million in Imports of cotton yarns during January to July 2012 increased 27%. The main exporter to Colombia is India, with a total import share of 77,6% followed by Mexico with an 8,4% share. In the same way textile and garment imports increased by 17% and the main exporters where China (39%), India (10%) and the USA (9%). Cotton fiber Commercialization The coming into force of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States since may 15 th 2012 allows the national industry to import all its cotton requirements paying no custom duties and under no condition to buy local raw materials through quota auctions tied to tariff discounts. Arguing the entry into force of this free trade agreement, the Colombian textile industry tightened up the rules to buy and commercialize national cotton. The national producers organization, CONALGODON, considers is not socially or economically sustainable that the cost of downstream industry competitiveness should be assumed by cotton growers.

4 National and Imported Cotton Prices Colombia is a net importer of cotton fiber since 1990 and local price formation for industry consumption used to be tied to international prices, plus freights, tariffs and intern costs. Before the free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States started, custom duties where at 5% for cotton. The new scenario with FTA in force will imply that imports coming from the USA will enter duty-free. Additionally, logistic parameters such as costs of transportation, admission or importation will not continue to be considered in price parity formulas. Because the textile industry hold over some of the contracts they made in 2011, cotton imports during 2012 have been made considerably costly than the national offer. In june, the implicit import prices declared to custom authorities were at cents/pound, while average national SLM base price was 75,32 cents/pound, following the same behavior of international prices. That is why the national industry has been capable to mix imported cotton at high prices with supplies of national fiber at lower prices. Prices of national industry cotton imports through the first half of 2012 were still considerably higher than the national price Appreciation of the Colombian peso The overvaluation trend of the local currency steadily continues to be one of the main problems affecting sectorial competitiveness. The Colombian peso has revalued 8% in the last year and 21% since 2008, mainly induced by higher capital inflows and portfolio investments entering to the country.

5 Besides, an overvalued national currency means lower import costs of agricultural goods and at the same time makes it difficult to export. A great effort has been done by the Ministry of Agriculture to ask for measures to control this situation to the macroeconomic authorities. Given the persistent trend to appreciate the peso it is necessary that all members of this agroindustrial chain think about their productive structures and take advantage of the opportunities to modernize their factories and equipment, make imported inputs cheaper, raise capital intensity and increase productivity. Transgenic seeds Since genetically modified cotton seeds were introduced to our fields, a series of changes in the dynamics of the natural environment surrounding cotton plantings have become evident. As cotton cultivation is located in three different agroecological zones in which pest and disease incidence behave differently, these changes vary accordingly. One of the changes worth mentioning is that plagues that had a secondary incidence before the introduction of transgenic seedshave now occupied the place of Lepidoptera and are too costly to control, because of the higher level of damage they are causing. This new outlook that cotton growers and agronomists perceive has made clear the lack of an integral capacity and preparation to properly handle these new technologies. It seems like only as the years pass by, and mainly based on a trial and error based methodology, that they will continue to handleacceptably the transgenic cotton seed varieties. Production Costs Regarding production costs, in Colombia prices of seeds, inputs, fertilizers and herbicides are within the most expensive in the world. The harsh climate conditions experienced since 2009 has increased labor demand for drainage repairing and building, replanting and fertilization. Besides, the booming mining and energy sectors are receiving enormous flood of foreign investment,which strongly press the local currencydownward. Additionally, these factors compete for local labor at a higher salaries and explain the growing loss of international cost competitiveness of the Colombian cotton. Public Policy Government support to cotton growers in Colombia has a key regional and social impact in terms of better incomes and welfare for an estimated small producer families. It also

6 contributes to the environmental sustainability of production systems and crop rotation in the tropical regions where it is cultivated. Current income support measures, storage incentives and exchange rate hedges are greatly required to have a fluid commercialization of Colombian cotton. Environmental Footprint The Colombian textile industry has been proposing together with universities and the State programs to reduce water contamination and to comply with strict requisites and regulations. Environmentally friendly technologies such asadvance denimand low water and energy consumption technologies in ending processes are being implanted. The main challenges for the sustainability of the productive chain are the following: to prepare and compromise all small and medium size agents along the productive chain; to recuperate business financial and economic sustainability; to establishand enforce regulations to assure that inputs, clothes and garment imports fulfill international requisites to qualify as sustainable and innocuous products; to improve transport infrastructure; to reduce substantially the carbon footprint and the aggregate cost of this item; to get wider financial sourcesas well as support to technology transfer projectsfor the production of organic cotton, better handling of residual water and the use of alternative energies. Colombia s Invitation to attend the 72 Plenary Meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee The Government of The Republic of Colombia has the pleasure to invite the international cotton community to attend the 72 Plenary Meeting of the ICAC, to be held in Cartagena Colombia on October As our country fosters the entire cotton value chain, producing yarn, textiles, apparels and fashion, this invitation is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. For the private sector, by the Colombian Cotton Growers represented by CONALGODÓN, the National Industrials Association ANDI and the National Cotton Distribution Corporation DIAGONAL. We invite you to meet our fascinating landscapes, to enjoy the hospitality of our people, and live the magic of Cartagena de Indias, a city appointed by UNESCO as a World Heritage city, full of history and caribean beauty. Join us in the 72 Plenary Meeting of the ICAC on 2013!

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