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Sword of Damocles hangs over Doha round on cotton

10
Oct '09
Four African countries have threatened to veto any accord reached in the Doha round of talks, if it did not address their mainstay demand of reducing subsidies on cotton given to farmers in western countries, particularly, by US.

The four countries, Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin and Mali, which have cotton as a important agricultural product have raised their concerns along with other countries, time and again, regarding the high subsidies paid to cotton farmers in western countries.

After a meeting with representatives of Chad, Burkina Faso and Benin, Trade and Industry Minister of Mali, Ahmadou Abdoulaye Diallo said that they would veto any proposal if their requests were disregarded in the final draft of the Doha round of talks.

As per World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, even if one country is not in agreement, there is no signing and no implementation of the accord. These four countries, wants the US to make bigger cuts in its cotton subsidies, than in other agricultural products.

African and other cotton producing countries, have for long been protesting against the huge subsidies paid out to farmers in the US, which artificially keeps global cotton prices low and in the process, proves uneconomic for farmers from other cotton producing countries.

The US administration had recently indicated that they will make amends, but cannot make an offer until they can see the overall deal in agriculture. More recently they also insisted that, China and India must also open their markets to US cotton.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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