Cotton is helping drive record U.S. agricultural exports to Southeast Asia. Over the last 5 years, higher exports of cotton have accounted for over two-thirds of the total growth in U.S. agricultural exports to the region. For 2017/18, cotton was the leading export (value) to Vietnam and second-highest to Indonesia and Thailand.
All three markets witnessed 10 or more percent growth in U.S. cotton exports compared with the previous year, buoyed by Southeast Asia’s growth as a prominent yarn and textile exporter. Vietnam leads the region in cotton imports, and is the United States’s largest market for cotton.
Record imports and use are expected in 2018/19 for Vietnam and Indonesia. Both countries are expected to continue as the top two markets for U.S. cotton in the region. Continued strong yarn and textile exports are expected to drive this record growth.
With minimal cotton production in the region, growth in spinning demand will be met through imports. Moreover, cotton imports are subject to zero duties in the four largest markets in the region. This bodes well for 2018/19 U.S. export prospects, which are expected to be the second-highest in 15 years.