More than 1,000 delegates from the world of cotton joined us in Hong Kong last week at its biggest ever trade event - 'Hong Kong 2012'.
Hosted by the outgoing International Cotton Association Ltd (ICA) President, Antonio Esteve, the two day event took place on 1 & 2 November in the magnificent 'Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre'. It attracted sponsorship from 38 firms and saw 11 international speakers take to the stage - including Olam's Sunny Verghese.
There was also plenty of opportunity for delegates to network and do business with two networking lunches, a cocktail reception and a closing banquet.
The Honourable C Y Leung, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, was in attendance to deliver the opening address at the event's closing banquet, during which the official handover of the ICA presidential medal was passed from Antonio Esteve to Ahmed Elbosaty, who now takes up his year in office.
Speaking at the closing banquet Antonio said: "It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the ICA and I want to thank the membership for the confidence bestowed on me. It has been a very challenging year with the wild swings in prices and a record number of arbitrations - nearly 500 over the past two years, involving over 400 thousand tons and 350 million dollars in market differences. Over this time I estimate 20 million tons were traded with approximate market differences of 17 billion dollars. The good news is that over 95 per cent of these trades were performed. Without the ICA it could have been a lot worse."
Antonio's speech also included a message to defaulters: "It is shameful, if not disgusting, that some people insist on defrauding the system. Those that insist on circumventing the default list should not be sitting in this audience, you don´t belong here and should not be a member of the ICA. Trading with defaulters is not a competitive advantage. It is neither an honourable nor a smart business strategy.
"Our goal is to promote responsible contracting and increasingly produce a safer trading environment: ICA members selling to ICA members through ICA members, all firmly committed to honouring contract sanctity. The theme of this conference is “Growing Together” for a reason: we need to make this happen together. I will repeat what I have said since the outset of my term as President of the ICA, united we stand, divided we fall."
Next year's event will take place in Liverpool, UK on 24 & 25 October 2013.