6. Cotton in July 2021 draft agriculture negotiations text

The draft aims for decisions at the November 30–December 3, 2021 ministerial conference (“MC12”)

See also
New agriculture draft suggests nervousness in divided WTO

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By Peter Ungphakorn

Note: the official July 29, 2021 draft text for the WTO agriculture negotiations is here with a minor correction here. Links to all sections are here.

This page combines the two sections of the text on cotton, the chair’s assessment, and her draft


6.1.         As stated on many occasions, an outcome on cotton remains for many Members an important element of an MC12 agricultural package, in view of its critical role for the socio-economic development and livelihoods of many people, particularly in LDC Members. The text mainly covers transparency and trade-distorting domestic support for cotton. A third component related to development is being addressed in parallel within the Director General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton.

6.2.        On transparency, the text acknowledges the existing enhanced cotton dedicated mechanism and reiterates Members’ commitment to explore ways to further improve it, building upon the work undertaken in the context of the Facilitator-led process and subsequent developments.

6.3.         As noted in my state of play report6, trade-distorting domestic support for cotton constitutes the central element of the negotiations on this topic, and remains an important goal for many Members, and a priority for some — but is also characterized by the absence of convergence so far. In this context, the text reflects the mandate to address cotton ambitiously, expeditiously, and specifically, while also taking into account the overall context of the agriculture negotiations, particularly the negotiations on domestic support generally.7

6 JOB/AG/202.
7 It is noted that the C-4 informed Members that the Group is working on a new contribution.

Compare with new November 2021 text


The Ministerial Conference,

Having regard to Paragraph 1 of Article IX of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization;

Noting the vital importance of cotton to a number of developing economies, particularly the least- developed amongst them;

Taking into account recent trends in cotton markets, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic;

Emphasizing in this regard the importance of transparency and effective monitoring of cotton-related trade measures impacting cotton trade and markets;

Welcoming the specific cotton-related transparency and monitoring mechanisms put in place as a result of previous Ministerial Conferences, including the Cotton portal launched on the occasion of MC11;

Decides as follows:


1.             Members undertake to continue holding Dedicated Discussions on cotton on a bi-annual  basis, as mandated by paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 of the Bali Ministerial Decision on Cotton (WT/MIN(13)/41 – WT/L/916) and confirmed in paragraph 14 of the Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Cotton (WT/MIN(15)/46 – WT/L/981).

2.            Members undertake to continue monitoring the implementation of commitments contained in the Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Cotton across the three pillars of Market Access, Domestic Support, and Export Competition during the Dedicated Discussions on Cotton, based on relevant Members’ notifications to the WTO, complemented as necessary by Members’ replies to specific requests for information from the WTO Secretariat.

3.             Members welcome the work undertaken during the Dedicated Discussions on Cotton to monitor cotton trade and markets including through side events, notably in relation to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cotton sector and commend WTO partners participating in this exercise.

4.            Members acknowledge the statement on the WTO Cotton negotiations adopted by a group of Members on 7 October 2019 (JOB/AG/165) and commit to intensify discussions on factors negatively impacting cotton trade and markets and to continue efforts aimed at enhancing transparency and the monitoring of cotton-related trade measures.

5.            [To this end, Members commit in particular to explore ways to enhance collection, processing, and circulation of cotton-related relevant data including by updating and clarifying as necessary the bi-annual cotton questionnaire and the notification requirements and formats under G/AG/2, taking due account of the capacity constraints of some Members.]

6.            Having regard to the Ministerial Decision on Domestic Support (symbol document), Members agree to continue negotiations on the reduction of trade-distorting domestic support for cotton post-MC12 in accordance with the mandate to address cotton ambitiously, expeditiously, and specifically within the agriculture negotiations. The negotiations shall be based on Members’ existing and future submissions, as well as on up-to-date domestic support notifications.

7.            Members agree to review progress in respect of cotton at the 13th Ministerial Conference and adopt any necessary decisions. In that regard, Members invite the Director-General to submit a report to the Conference on the progress made in implementing the trade-related components of this Decision, including on the negotiations on cotton trade domestic support.


8.            [To be developed.]

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Updates: None so far
Image credit: Background aerial shot of farmland | Julian Ebert, Unsplash, CCO

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