The European Union (EU) is now a member of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).
The membership of the EU in the ICAC is of strategic significance to the world cotton industry and the 150 million people involved in cotton production, marketing and processing each season. Some of the most important trade and research institutions in the world of cotton are headquartered in the EU. In the current season, the EU is the 11th largest producer and 6th largest exporter of cotton, and the EU is the largest market for textiles in the world. The European Union itself, and many individual countries and companies within the EU, are significant providers of cotton-specific development assistance in recipient countries.
Following the vote of the European Parliament on May 16, the Council of the European Union approved the accession of the EU to the ICAC on May 18, 2017, the final step needed to complete the accession process. H.E. Ambassador Pierre Clive Agius of Malta (Malta currently holding the rotating Presidency of the EU) formally presented the Instrument of Accession to Minister (Trade) Ali Tahir of the Embassy of Pakistan and ranking member of the ICAC Standing Committee on May 24, 2017. The Standing Committee confirmed the membership of the EU today at its 549th Meeting.
The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, commented: "The EU's accession to the International Cotton Advisory Committee is an important step, coming only one month after we presented a set of focused actions to make value chains in the garment sector more sustainable. As a member, we will continue to work for a sustainable and inclusive
cotton sector, ensuring decent jobs for all. Cotton is important both to the EU's economy and our development cooperation with cotton producing countries."
ICAC is the International Commodity Body representing cotton and cotton textiles. Formed in 1939, ICAC is one of the oldest organizations within the architecture of intergovernmental bodies.
The mission of the ICAC is to assist governments in fostering a healthy world cotton economy. The Committee achieves its mission by providing transparency to the world cotton market, by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production and by serving as a forum for discussion of cotton issues of international significance. The role of the ICAC is to raise awareness of emerging issues, provide information relevant to the solving of problems and to foster cooperation in the achievement of common objectives. By serving as an objective statistical observer and by bringing together producing, consuming and trading countries and all segments of the cotton industry, the ICAC serves a unique role as a catalyst for constructive change.