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Egypt Makes Moves to Protect its Cotton Brand

The Egyptian government has appointed an official steering committee to safeguard the future of the Egyptian Cotton brand.

Appointed by the Minister of Trade & Industry, the new steering committee consists of government and trade representatives. It will be responsible for the licensing and promotion of Egyptian Cotton globally, as well as policing the integrity of the supply chain to ensure full compliance, traceability and transparency.

The Cotton Egypt Association (CEA), which until now has had sole responsibility for licensing and promoting the luxury cotton brand, has been incorporated into the new structure.

Khaled Schuman, executive director of CEA and head of the newly formed Egyptian Cotton Logo Unit, said the steering committee, “will build on the work already carried out by the CEA to promote Egyptian Cotton globally, protect the supply chain and ensure the welfare of the workers.”

“We are aware that deceptive practices by some manufacturers are damaging the Egyptian Cotton brand.  It has, in some cases, resulted in a loss of confidence and trust, neither of which are acceptable,” Schuman said. “We will reinforce the credentials of genuine Egyptian Cotton as an ethical and sustainable brand, the cultivation and production of which supports whole communities.”

The brand has been in recovery mode since 2011 when output fell substantially following political upheaval. Despite the setbacks, Egyptian Cotton is still widely recognized by consumers as a luxury brand, CEA said.

In 2016, Target and Walmart Stores were caught in a scandal when it was discovered that bed sheets sold at the retailers made by Welspun India were falsely marked as being made of Egyptian cotton.

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Recent moves to improve confidence in the Egyptian Cotton logo include the introduction of a partnership with Bureau Veritas for a new rigorous accreditation process that uses DNA testing to distinguish between genuine Egyptian Cotton and regular cotton.

Exports of Egyptian Cotton grew by 181.6 percent from December to February this year, according to CEA, and in August an investment of $1.3 billion for modernizing Egypt’s textile sector was announced.

The full make-up of the new steering committee will include two members from the Ministry of Trade & Industry; two members from the Alexandria Cotton Exporters Association; two members from CEA; one from the Holding Company for Cotton, Spinning, Weaving & RMG; one from the Ministry of Agriculture and one from the High Council of Textiles.

“The creation of this strong steering committee reflects the Egyptian government’s strong will to make a real reform in the Egyptian Cotton’s Supply chain,” Schuman added.