NCC: No more constraints on US cotton policy

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The National Cotton Council opposes any efforts to further limit U.S. cotton policy in the World Trade Organization’s December Ministerial in Nairobi, Kenya.

That was one of the key messages NCC President/CEO Gary Adams delivered recently in his testimony before the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing: “Foreign Subsidies: Jeopardizing Free Trade and Harming American Farmers.”

Adams’ testimony came as the Memphis-based NCC continues its active engagement with U.S. trade officials at the WTO, as well as with Congress, to ensure U.S. trade negotiators maintain a firm commitment not to accept any further concessions to U.S. cotton policy.

He stated there have been repeated comments from numerous countries for there to be “something more” done on cotton policy at this upcoming Ministerial.

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.

The NCC will continue to urge U.S. negotiators to push other countries to be as current and as transparent as the United States is with their domestic support notifications, Adams stated, while emphasizing that U.S. programs are not having a detrimental impact on world markets or producers in other countries.

“Under the current farm law, U.S. cotton farmers are even more attuned to market conditions,” Adams said. “I encourage the House Agriculture Committee and our negotiators to hold firmly to the position that agricultural markets have changed over the past decade, and that U.S. cotton policy has evolved in ways that far exceed the previous demands within the WTO. A cotton specific ‘solution’ focused on developed countries does not address the realities of today’s global fiber markets.”

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