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Jens D. Lukaczik has been President of the Association since the General Assembly of the Bremen Cotton Exchange on June 28th. Mr. Lukaczik is the Managing Partner of Bremen-based Cargo Control Group, a respected logistics service provider to the cotton industry. In an interview with the Cotton Report, the new President emphasises the core tasks of the Cotton Exchange as an arbitrator in international trade and a centre for quality testing. The future challenges facing the cotton industry and the textile supply chain are also not left out.
Cotton Report: Where do you see the core competencies of the Bremen Cotton Exchange?
Jens D. Lukazcik: The core competencies of the Cotton Exchange, such as quality expertise and arbitration in international trade have not changed in recent decades. But our contribution to both specialist and general cotton issues, which are currently being discussed in the textile supply chain, is becoming more important from year to year and is seen as being very reliable by all partners in the discussion. The perception of the Cotton Exchange has changed in the last 10 years, from an interest group to one of the world’s most accepted and independent cotton associations which can neutrally assess all questions about cotton and, thanks to its expertise, provide unbiased and objective comment.
The textile industry expects the trade to deliver cotton in the required quality. How does the Cotton Exchange support the partners in ensuring quality?
It is not the task of the Bremen Cotton Exchange to dictate or predefine quality requirements to the market participants. But especially through the certification of HVI laboratories all over the world, we are substantially increasing the reliability and accuracy of cotton quality testing. Through the ICA Bremen, the joint venture between the Bremen Cotton Exchange and the ICA in Liverpool, we have become the international centre for cotton testing, training and certification. In addition, our own very high commitment to quality ensures the corresponding quality standards and benchmarks throughout the industry.
The Cotton Exchange is an official arbitration court. What does this function mean for the international reputation of the Cotton Exchange?
The worldwide recognition as an official arbitration court for the cotton trade is a great help to us in our efforts to be perceived and accepted as an independent trade association. Especially the recognition, via the ICA Bremen, of our function as an ultimate and contractually binding arbitration tribunal for quality disputes worldwide is not only of outstanding importance for the reputation of the Bremen Cotton Exchange, but also for the state of Bremen, whose name was not without reason anchored within the ICA Bremen as it was founded.
What is the significance for trade and industry of training courses for employees working with cotton?
The importance of training cannot be overstated. Cotton is a very high-priced commodity where the smallest quality differences can cause very large price differences. Especially for smaller and less well-developed cotton-growing countries, these training courses are indispensable in order to be able to enforce their natural interest in the fair evaluation of their product in international trade.
What can be done to increase the popularity and use of cotton?
Appropriately enough, I have just returned from a cotton conference in Brazil, on the side-lines of which the President of the American Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA) raised the idea of uniting the four largest cotton exporting countries (USA, Brazil, Australia and India) for the collective promotion of cotton. We will only be successful through joint efforts and by clearly stating the advantages of the natural fibre, as well as the disadvantages of synthetic fibres.
How do you assess the work of the Cotton Exchange in the German Textile Partnership?
At the beginning, it was a difficult decision for the Bremen Cotton Exchange to join the Textile Partnership. With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that at the time, it was absolutely the right decision to bring our independent expertise into this political committee and to stand up to the interest groups and the partly ideological argumentation of the organisations with factual, reasoned arguments. In this way, we can help to ensure that the whole discussion does not move too far away from the prevailing realities.
Where is there still potential to increase the reputation of the Bremen Cotton Exchange in politics, society and industry?
Today, we can be very proud of our excellent reputation in the world of cotton. To see much greater potential here seems a bit too ambitious to me. We are also already very well positioned in politics through our work in the Textile Partnership and our cooperation with the German Society for International Cooperation, GIZ. By contrast, I still see opportunities to better anchor the awareness of the Cotton Exchange and the knowledge of our capabilities with the retail trade and its customers, the end user.
Thank you for the interview!