Special Edition Cotton Newsline: July 20, 2004

Ambassador Allen Johnson, the U.S. chief ag negotiator, shares his thoughts on cotton and the WTO.

Part 1

(See Part 2, National Cotton Council chairman Woody Anderson comments, below)

Ambassador Allen Johnson, the United States chief agricultural negotiator, believes as the WTO works to develop a framework agreement on agriculture, similarities in several areas between less developed and developed countries will reinforce a successful Doha Round.

The United States will not succumb to demands for elimination of the U.S. cotton program and compensation from the WTO for many reasons. 

Johnson is confident cotton trade issues will remain a part of the overall agricultural negotiation.

Recent claims by Brazil and others that the U.S. cotton program is significantly suppressing the world price of cotton and hurting Brazilian and African cotton producers are unwarranted, says Johnson.

Although the recent WTO dispute case ruling between Brazil and the United States has not been officially released, leaks have contributed to speculation on how it could impact the U.S. cotton industry.

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Part 2

As the G-90 group of less developed countries calls on the United States to eliminate its cotton program, National Cotton Council chairman Woody Anderson says U.S. cotton should not be singled out.

Anderson says the U.S. cotton industry has a strong ally with U.S. Trade Representative Zoellick and his staff.

Having recently returned from Burkina Faso, Anderson thinks the U.S. can help African countries in their search of stabilized cotton production.

However, Anderson is concerned that other countries and organizations are using the African countries to push their own agenda.

Anderson, a Texas cotton producer, stresses the need for the U.S. to continue working with the WTO for several reasons.

The interests that are trying to use the WTO for very specific, targeted policy objectives threaten the entire institution, says Anderson.

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