Jess Smith & Sons Cotton Co., a 67-year old cotton merchandising firm headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif., has signed a five-year marketing agreement with Luthai Textile Co., Ltd of China, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high grade yarn, dyed fabrics and top brand shirts.

Ernie Schroeder Jr., Jess Smith & Sons CEO/owner signed the contract with Luthai Chairman Liu Shizhen at the China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum held in Scottsdale, Ariz. Schroeder was the only U.S. cotton merchant invited to participate in the trade forum.

Jess Smith & Sons Cotton is one of the largest U.S. family-owned cotton merchants in the U.S.

China is the largest cotton producer, consumer and importer of cotton.

Forty one contracts were signed with companies at the forum. They represented $12.4 billion in trade between the U.S. and China. Two hundred Chinese companies and 150 U.S. companies were invited to the event.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People’s Congress in China, exchanged contracts with Ernie Schroeder Jr., Jess Smith & Sons CEO, at the conclusion of the forum.