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WTO members want cotton a priority for ministerial conference in Buenos Aires

Most WTO members want an outcome of domestic support for cotton to be a priority for the Buenos Aires Ministerial conference in December 2017, the chair of the agricultural negotiations, Vangelis Vitalis, Ambassador of New Zealand reported during WTO’s latest consultations on cotton. Welcoming recent submissions and intense debates among members, Vitalis confirmed that none of the new submissions enjoyed a consensus so far.

The Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015 marked an important step to arrive at a negotiated global solution for cotton, the Cotton-4 group of countries said at the meeting. However, as noted at the last dedicated discussion in July, they regretted the lack of progress so far particularly on issues where no binding commitments were made in the Nairobi conference. Vitalis reiterated that for the overwhelming majority of WTO members, an outcome on domestic subsidies for farmers at the 11th Ministerial Conference in December 2017 should include a decision on cotton. The consultations on cotton included the sixth dedicated discussion of trade-related developments for cotton and the 26th session of the DG’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton.

The importance of achieving an outcome on cotton at MC11 was also emphasized by ministers at a meeting in Oslo, Norway, on October 21 and 22 and at a meeting of the Cotton-4 ministers on 26-28 of the same month in Bamako, Mali. The Cotton-4 said that the Bamako Ministerial Declaration made an urgent appeal for the elimination of all forms of export subsidies and domestic support for the production and marketing of cotton before MC11.