National Cotton Council (NCC) Chairman Woody Anderson says the World Trade Organization (WTO) draft framework document, “contains many pitfalls for U.S. agriculture. From a cotton perspective, the draft is unacceptable.”
Anderson is referring to a draft document prepared by the General Council of the WTO in an effort to revive the stalled Doha Round of negotiations. The draft was presented to negotiators in Geneva.
“In many ways, the Doha Round is moving backwards for U.S. agriculture,” the Texas producer says. “This most recent draft document is vague and general in too many respects, except in its references to U.S. programs that are being targeted by other countries. It's too much of a one-way document that may be the final gasp of the Doha Round if it isn't significantly changed.”
Anderson notes that no other agricultural commodity is singled out in the entire document.
Citing a recent report from Texas Tech University, Anderson says the U.S. cotton program has little impact on world cotton prices. In fact, the International Cotton Advisory Committee and USDA both report that it's China and Brazil that have dramatically increased cotton production since 2001, while the U.S. has decreased production.
“What's missing is any specific statement from developing countries concerning real increases in market access,” Anderson says. “They haven't put forward concrete proposals, and the process could grind to a halt as a result.”