6. Cotton in November 2021 draft agriculture negotiations text

Little sign of convergence in the draft WTO agriculture text, November 19, 2021 | farming, Luxembourg (Johny Goerend, Unsplash)

See also
Pre-ministerial draft shows little to harvest in WTO farm talks

Previous: 5. export restrictions/subsidies | next: 7. special safeguard mechanism (SSM)

By Peter Ungphakorn

Note: the official draft text is available as a public document here. It was circulated on November 23, 2021 by Ambassador Gloria Abraham Peralta of Costa Rica, the present chair of the negotiations. See the WTO news story of November 25 on the release and discussion. 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             COTTON

6.1          As indicated in document JOB/AG/215, 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.

6.2         The revised text is the result of a series of consultations held between the C-4 and other interested Members, including in the “Cotton Quad plus” format, as well as on the occasion of the 16th Cotton Dedicated Discussion of the relevant trade-related developments for cotton, which was held on 4 November.

6.3          I was encouraged during all these consultations by the level of engagement and willingness to explore possible compromise solutions with a view to achieving an outcome on cotton at MC12.

6.4         The trade component is composed of two main elements, namely transparency and trade-distorting domestic support for cotton. On transparency, the discussions confirmed the importance that Members attach to exploring ways to enhance it through an evidence-based process, building on existing dedicated mechanisms on cotton.

6.5         The main outstanding issue between Members remains how to address the question of Trade-Distorting Domestic Support for cotton. On the one hand, the C-4 — with the support of several Members and groups of Members — invited other Members to continue discussions around the proposal contained in its submission TN/AG/GEN/51 – TN/AG/SCC/GEN/23.

6.6         On the other hand, other Members considered that agreement on modalities for reductions by MC12 was out of reach in light of the short time left, the remaining strong divergence in positions, and the overall level of ambition for an agricultural package at MC12. The draft text therefore aims at finding a possible way forward reflecting Members’ commitment to continue the negotiations with a view to agreeing on modalities for the reduction of trade-distorting domestic support for cotton, in accordance with the mandate to address cotton ambitiously, expeditiously, and specifically, while also taking into account the overall context of the agriculture negotiations.

6.7         Finally, as stressed on several occasions, an outcome on cotton has to be considered in its entirety, i.e., both its trade and development components. This latter component was developed under the Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on the development aspects of Cotton (DGCFMC) and takes the form of a paragraph welcoming the work achieved in the DGCFMC context.

5 This paragraph is based on the proposal made by the C-4 in document TN/AG/GEN/51 — TN/AG/SCC/GEN/23. [This appears to be reproduced in error from the previous version, now covered by paragraph 6.5]

Compare with the May 2022 text (3 paragraphs)
Compare with July 2021 text


32.          We 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).

33.          We 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.

34.          We welcome the work undertaken in 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.

35.          We 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.

36.          To this end, we commit in particular to undertake post-MC12 work through an evidence-based process with a view to enhancing collection, processing, and circulation of cotton-related relevant data including by streamlining 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.

37.          Noting what we have agreed on Domestic Support in this Decision, we agree to continue negotiations after MC12 with a view to agreeing on modalities for the reduction of trade-distorting domestic support for cotton in accordance with the mandate to address it 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.

38.          We agree to review progress in respect of cotton at the 13th Ministerial Conference and adopt any necessary decisions. In that regard, we 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.

39.          We note that development related aspects of cotton are addressed under the Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton and welcome the work undertaken in this context, which will continue to be handled as provided for in paragraph 12 of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration (WT/MIN(05)/DEC) and in paragraphs 10, 11, 12 and 13 of the Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Cotton.

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Updates: None so far
Image credit: Background aerial shot of farmland | Johny Goerend, Unsplash licence

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