World Cotton Day: Celebrating the global importance of cotton

Cotton is a global commodity grown in over 75 countries across five continents and traded worldwide. World Cotton Day — held annually on 7 October — is an opportunity to highlight the role of cotton in creating jobs and maintaining economic stability in cotton-producing countries, particularly in least-developed countries (LDCs). Celebrations marking the day aim to foster sustainable trade policies and to enable developing countries to benefit from participating in every step of the cotton value chain.

Official recognition of World Cotton Day

A United Nations General Assembly decision on 30 August 2021 officially recognized 7 October as World Cotton Day following a proposal submitted by Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

The UN resolution (A/RES/75/318) proclaiming World Cotton Day acknowledges the vital role cotton plays, recognizing the livelihoods and subsistence it provides for millions of people and its broader economic and social impact around the world.

World Cotton Day celebrations

The WTO hosted the first World Cotton Day on 7 October 2019 in response to an initiative of the Cotton-4 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. The event was organized by the WTO Secretariat in collaboration with the secretariats of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

The event was attended by over 800 participants at WTO headquarters, including ministers, heads of international organizations, high-level officials, Geneva-based delegates and the global cotton community — national growers associations, traders, inspection service providers, cotton promoters, development assistance partners, scientists, scholars, retailers, brand representatives and the private sector. It served as a key opportunity for participants to share knowledge and showcase cotton-related activities and products.

World Cotton Day celebrations have taken place every year since 2019.

Discussions on cotton at the WTO

At the WTO, cotton is the sole commodity discussed separately following an initiative launched by the Cotton-4 in 2003. The initiative aims to make international trade in cotton fairer and to shed light on the linkages between trade, cotton and development.

Discussions on cotton at the WTO focus on:

  • achieving reforms needed to address trade-distorting subsidies and to provide improved market access for cotton and cotton-related products from LDCs
  • monitoring and encouraging development assistance to the cotton sector in developing countries through cooperation projects and dissemination of information.

For more information, please visit:

Cotton Portal - Trade Intelligence for Cotton

Cotton Portal, launched at the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference, provides a single-entry point for all the cotton-specific information available in WTO and ITC databases on market access, trade statistics, country-specific business contacts and development-assistance related information.

Join us in the Webinar (French language only) on 7 November to discover this free tool! To attend the event on Zoom, please register in advance here

Facts and Figures

The importance of cotton across the world

 Latest tweets: #WorldCottonday

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