August 2005 -- Representatives from both India and Germany visited numerous U.S. wool warehouses during two trade missions sponsored by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) in June.
A visit from the Joint President-Commercial Virendra Sharma of Oswal Woolen Mills, Ltd., in Ludhiana, India, marked the first trip from any Oswal representative to the United States. This visit signifies the importance that Oswal places on developing the U.S. market as an additional wool source.
Sharma comments that he was pleased with his visit and was surprised at the wide-range of wool types available in the United States.
?Wool from the United States has a great opportunity to expand its role in the raw material sourcing mix for Oswal as a result of what I have seen during this visit,? he says.
Sharma also encourages that U.S. suppliers visit India on a regular basis, as face-to-face discussions are an important element in allowing both buyer and seller to develop confidence in one another and expand business so that both parties will be at an advantage.
India is rapidly expanding its wool-textile production capacity to take advantage of the removal of world textile quotas that occurred at the beginning of 2005. India is the third largest consumer of wool, behind China and Italy, and continues to purchase modern processing machinery to support its expansion.
ASI also hosted BWK Elders Senior Trading Manager Eckhard Luebsen from Bremen, Germany, in June. Elders is one of the largest combing mills in the world and is one of the largest customers for U.S. wool.
Luebsen?s visit concentrated in Texas and New Mexico because he says that their business is moving toward finer wools, those generally in the 21-micron range and the finer combing types.
In addition to polypropylene contamination, Luebsen says that Elders is seeing an increasing level of kemp fiber ? short, medulated fibers ? in the wool. This is evidence that more careful preparation of the wool at shearing time is needed to ensure proper quality standards.
At the present time, the wool-textile business activity in Europe has been extremely quiet due to the weak U.S. dollar and the removal of quotas with Asian imports.