The National Cotton Council is calling for an end to constraints on U.S. cotton policy in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) December Ministerial in Nairobi, Kenya. The group’s president and CEO Gary Adams testified before the House Agriculture Committee that U.S. trade negotiators need to maintain a firm commitment not to accept any further concessions to U.S. cotton policy.
He stated that there have been repeated comments from numerous countries for there to be “something more” done on cotton policy at this upcoming Ministerial but “we believe that the actions already taken by the United States with respect to cotton policy should be more than sufficient to allow U.S. negotiators to resist any further calls for concessions on cotton.”
Adams told the Committee that U.S. cotton farmers are indeed competing with international farmers who are benefitting from higher support levels. He cited a recent International Cotton Advisory Committee report that estimated average direct assistance to cotton production across all countries at $0.26 per pound — but only $0.07 per pound average support for U.S. cotton production.
Adams also reiterated U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman’s comments before the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year that a defensive posture regarding U.S. cotton support is outdated and justifies a shift in focus to other countries’ status regarding their WTO obligations.
NCC also wants U.S. negotiators to push other countries to be as current and as transparent as the United States is with their domestic support notifications.