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Sunday, 28 August 2016

The Welspun cotton fiasco is bad news for Egypt, even though it’s not our fault

The controversy we reported on Thursday surrounding Welspun, a major Indian supplier to US retailers, mislabeling textile products as made of “Egyptian cotton” is bad news for Egypt, Reuters suggests. The incident could leave retailers “wary of dealing with products labeled Egyptian cotton, potentially providing a boon to growers of U.S. Pima cotton in places like California and Arizona.” This exacerbates an already tough time for growers of long-staple Egyptian cotton as farmers here are set to produce 160,000 or so 480 lb. bales of cotton in 2016-17, down from 1.4mn bales in 2004-05, accounting for just 0.2% of global output. The production figures themselves suggest corruption, Jordan Lea, CEO of a cotton trading company, says, noting “some products marketed as containing Egyptian cotton almost certainly do not, or are blended with other types of cotton without proper disclosure.” Lea adds “If you look at the volume of Egyptian goods that are for sale, and you look at the volume of Egyptian cotton that’s produced, it would lead one to scratch one’s head.”

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