ICTSD review of options
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CTA. 2003. ICTSD review of options. Agritrade, June 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52948
An ICTSD review article looks at the options that west African countries have...
An ICTSD review article looks at the options that west African countries have for addressing the problem of cotton subsidies in OECD countries. The paper looks at the option of using the dispute settlement mechanism and the option of negotiating a phased removal through the current Doha Round agricultural negotiations. The paper expresses the view that seeking systemic change through the agricultural negotiations would be less confrontational as current texts on modalities provide little scope for introducing significant cuts in cotton subsidies. However, it maintains that the 'special products' concept could potentially offer a way forward, if it is extended beyond domestic food security products to cover all products central to poverty alleviation in least developed countries. The article argues for including the dismantling of cotton subsidies in any 'early harvest' clause of any Cancun agreement. It notes however that 'such a strategy would of course require strong political leadership, public awareness and coherent strategies'. A step in this direction was taken on April 24th 2003 in Accra, Ghana, when west African trade ministers agreed to submit a joint submission to the WTO on cotton. Comment: While EU cotton subsidies are only around one-third of those prevailing in the USA, the EU also contributes to a depression of the world cotton price. Despite low prices in recent years EU cotton production has increased.