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WTO agrees to hold bi-annual discussion on cotton
Dec '13
The Ninth Session of the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), held in Bali, Indonesia, last week, has agreed to hold a dedicated discussion on cotton related issues, including cotton subsidies and improving market access for cotton products from least developed countries, bi-annually.
The Ministerial Decision on Cotton says the Ministers undertake to enhance transparency and monitoring in relation to the trade-related aspects of cotton. For this purpose, the Ministers agreed to hold a dedicated discussion on a bi-annual basis in the context of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session to examine relevant trade-related developments across the three pillars of Market Access, Domestic Support and Export Competition in relation to cotton.
The dedicated discussions shall be undertaken on the basis of factual information and data compiled by the WTO Secretariat from Members' notifications, complemented, as appropriate, by relevant information provided by Members to the WTO Secretariat.
“The dedicated discussions shall in particular consider all forms of export subsidies for cotton and all export measures with equivalent effect, domestic support for cotton and tariff measures and non-tariff measures applied to cotton exports from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in markets of interest to them,” the Ministerial Decision said.
The Ministerial Conference reaffirmed the importance of the development assistance aspects of cotton and in particular highlight the work of the Director-General's Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton in reviewing and tracking of cotton-specific assistance as well as infrastructure support programmes or other assistance related to the cotton sector.
The Conference committed to continued engagement in the Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton to strengthen the cotton sector in the LDCs.
It welcomed the positive trend in growth and improved performance in the cotton sector, particularly in Africa. In this context, the Conference underlined the importance of effective assistance provided to LDCs by Members and multilateral agencies.
The Conference invited the LDCs to continue identifying their needs linked to cotton or related sectors, including on a regional basis, through their respective dialogues with development partners and national development strategies. The Ministers urged the development partners to accord special focus to such needs within the existing aid-for-trade mechanisms/channels such as the EIF and the technical assistance and capacity building work of relevant international institutions.
Finally, the Conference invited the Director General to continue to provide periodic reports on the development assistance aspects of cotton, and to report on the progress that has been made in implementing the trade-related components of the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, at each WTO Ministerial Conference.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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