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Monday, 02 November 2009

US, EU cotton-subsidy cut "is only a matter of time"

The U.S. and European Union are likely to eventually meet African cotton producers’ demands to scale back farmer subsidies, World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy said. The U.S. and EU have committed in the Doha round of global trade negotiations to reducing levels of subsidies by 70 percent to 80 percent and to making deeper and faster cuts in programs for cotton, Lamy said. The only missing item is a precise figure, he said. Representatives of poor countries attending a meeting in Dar es Salaam on strategy for the Doha talks called on WTO member nations to allow duty-free and quota-free access for cotton and its byproducts. About 15 million farmers grow cotton in the sub-Sahara region of Africa, the world’s poorest continent, Lamy said. “There will be no conclusion of this round without the U.S. and EU reducing cotton trade-distorting subsidies more ambitiously and more specifically” than their pledges on other products, Lamy said. “That’s already decided. What is not decided is exactly how much.”

Source: African Agriculture