The 2022/23 crop of Brazilian cotton will reach the Chinese market with something new. Some of the bales shipped will have already been certified by the Brazilian Cotton Quality Program, developed by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mapa) in partnership with the Brazilian Cotton Growers Association(Abrapa). This news was well received by Chinese textile leaders and authorities during a mission held at the end of March.  

 “Our aim with this exchange was to present the Brazilian Cotton Quality Program to the textile industry and the Chinese government. We had the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Carlos Fávaro, together with us during our visit and the reception we got was great. The next step now is to present the shipment of the first bales to have been certified by the new program to our Chinese partners”, explained the president of Abrapa, Mr. Alexandre Schenkel, who coordinated the Brazilian delegation in China.  

 In practice, the joint program between Mapa and Abrapa identifies cotton shipments that have met the requirements of the international standard for verifying fibre quality. This testing is carried out using standardized and internationally audited instruments and procedures, ensuring that the cotton quality indicators are accepted by the global market.  

Over the last ten years, imports of Brazilian cotton by China increased by 47%, and today, the country is the largest international customer of Brazilian cotton and is on the list of priorities for Abrapa’s actions.  

In the 2021/22 market year, 455.61 thousand tonnes were shipped to China, which represents 27% of all shipments in the period. Cotton is the second most exported Brazilian product to China, behind soybeans. 


 The first appointment for the Brazilian delegation in China was at the 2023 CNCE Industry Development Conference, an event held by the China National Cotton Exchange (CNCE) in Beijing. Abrapa was one of the supporters of the CNCE event through the Cotton Brazil program, the international promotion branch of Brazilian cotton.  

In addition to a stand for networking and a talk on cotton production in Brazil given by Abrapa’s Director of International Relations, Mr. Marcelo Duarte, the conference welcomed a speech by Minister Carlos Fávaro highlighting the recently launched Brazilian Cotton Quality Program. 

Following this, the delegation headed to Qingdao where the largest port of entry for imported cotton is located and where the Chinese Inspection and Quarantine Agency (CIQ) (responsible for classifying all cotton) is based. The Brazilian officials visited the cotton warehouses in the port and the classing laboratories. They learned about the technical procedures adopted by the Chinese authorities and presented how the Brazilian Cotton Quality Program works. 

“We agreed to set up an official technical cooperation agreement between the Brazilian and Chinese governments to align technical standards to facilitate trade,” commented Mr. Schenkel.  

The agenda in China also included a meeting to assess Abrapa’s partnership with the CNCE, formalized in 2021, and a discussion on new goals and projects. The Brazilian representatives also made visits to the two largest state-owned companies operating in the cotton market in China: Chinatex and the China National Cotton Group Corp. (CNCGC), which together account for more than 2 million tonnes/year.  

The mission to China ended with a dinner with a delegation from Abrapa, the main executives of Chinese state-owned companies, Minister Carlos Fávaro and close advisors. The Brazilian team also participated in the “Brazil-China Economic Seminar”, held by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), which brought together more than 450 Chinese and Brazilian businessmen. 

Return trip

“We have scored points with our Chinese partners. Following the country’s opening up to foreigner visitors, we were the first trade mission from the cotton market to be welcomed here, and with a return trip already scheduled”, added Abrapa’s president. From the 15th to the 25th of April, the association will carry out another institutional exchange trip to China and South Korea, taking Brazilian producers and exporters.  

In the April mission, the focus will be broader. “This time, we are prioritizing the Brazilian Cotton Quality Program. In April, we are going to show how the Brazilian crop is progressing, the quality and sustainability indicators and also how the traceability of Brazilian cotton works”, said Mr. Schenkel.