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Trade ministers deliver global cotton deal at WTO
23
Dec '15
Courtesy: Admedia Communication/WTO
Courtesy: Admedia Communication/WTO
Global trade ministers agreed on a deal calling for cotton from least developed countries to be given duty free quota and quota-free access to markets of developed countries from January 2016.

The deal which was hammered out at the WTO's tenth ministerial conference in Nairobi which ended last week, stresses on the vital importance of the cotton to the least developed countries (LDCs).

The Nairobi Declaration contains a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to LDCs. These include a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, which Director-General Roberto Azevêdo hailed as the “most significant outcome on agriculture” in the organization's 20-year history.

The other agricultural decisions cover public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton. Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment for LDCs in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences, the WTO said on its website.

“Two years ago in Bali we did something that the WTO had never done before — we delivered major, multilaterally-negotiated outcomes,” Azevêdo declared. “This week, here in Nairobi, we saw those same qualities at work. And today, once again, we delivered.”

The Ministerial Decision on Cotton includes three agriculture elements: market access, domestic support and export competition.

On market access, the decision calls for cotton from LDCs to be given duty-free and quota-free access to the markets of developed countries - and to those of developing countries declaring that they are able to do so - from January 1, 2016.

The domestic support part of the cotton decision acknowledges members' reforms in their domestic cotton policies and stresses that more efforts remain to be made.

On export competition for cotton, the decision mandates that developed countries prohibit cotton export subsidies immediately and developing countries do so at a later date. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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