Finding the key to the cotton issue at the WTO cannot wait!
Press Release for the Participants of the Informal Ministerial Meeting on the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) The representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP), meeting on January 27, 2011, in a cotton workshop in Geneva have studied the state of the cotton issue at the WTO, including the question of whether to bring this issue before the Dispute Settlement Body. Given that a solution to this problem can no longer wait, the ACP Group draws the attention of the general public, and particularly that of the Ministers currently meeting in Davos, to this unique situation. The trade dispute United States – Cotton remains without a solution. To the contrary, the support measures announced on 5 April 2010 for Brazilian cotton producers, as part of the USA-Brazil interim agreement, only serve to reinforce inequality in treatment and go against the interests of other producers, in particular ACP producers. The ACP Group deplores the present impasse consisting in an unprecedented and exceptional situation where a WTO Member is avoiding bringing its trade policy into compliance with its obligations towards the Organisation in return for a payment made towards the producers of one other Member only. The ACP Group calls for the following measures: 1.Immediate resumption of the cotton negotiation, on the basis of the December 2008 “modalities”. 2.Priority given to an “early solution”. 3.As a minimum, that this issue be treated in parallel, and not subsequently, to the outstanding issues in the Doha Round negotiations. The Group insists, in particular, on the instability of the current situation and the incompatibility of the cotton policy of the United States with its WTO obligations. The United States must meet its responsibilities to the international community and to the cotton producers of all developing countries, particularly the least-developed amongst them. Moreover, as the Doha Round is a development round, all cotton price support measures distorting international trade should be abolished as a result of this negotiation. The representatives of the ACP Group reserve their full rights under the WTO agreements, including through the dispute settlement procedure. Geneva, 27 January 2011 The ACP Group Contact persons: H.E. Baboo Chekitan Servansing, Coordinating Ambassador for the ACP H.E. Prosper Vokouma, Coordinating Ambassador on Cotton for the ACP ph: 00 41 (0)783157595; 00 41 (0)797450888