WTO panel hears Brazilian complaint

U.S. cotton producers were represented at the hearings in Geneva, Switzerland, by Mark Lange, the NCC’s president and CEO; Gary Adams, the NCC’s vice president for economics and policy analysis; and William Gillon, a Memphis attorney who represents the Council on trade issues.

The U.S. team, which was led by Juan Millan of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office of General Counsel, and Joe Glauber, deputy chief economist for USDA, presented its case before a dispute panel created by the World Trade Organization to hear the complaint.

The three-member panel also heard testimony from third-party countries during the three days.

“This is the second of three scheduled hearings,” said Gillon. “The United States is working to ensure the panel understands the U.S. cotton program and the fact that it has not caused serious prejudice to the interests of Brazil.

“The U.S. team is doing an excellent job fighting the negative impressions being generated by several flawed economic studies, including ones done on behalf of Oxfam International.” (Oxfam is a London-based charity organization that has been the source of negative articles about the impact of U.S. cotton programs on cotton farmers in Africa.)

“Successful defense against the Brazilian claims is vital to the U.S. cotton industry and to U.S. agriculture in general,” said NCC Chairman Robert Greene, a ginner from Courtland, Ala.

“Among other issues, we expect the panel to make crucial decisions regarding the export credit guarantee programs and U.S. green box domestic programs, such as the 2002 farm bill’s direct payment program. The NCC is committed to doing everything it can to help the U.S. defend against this significant challenge.”

The Brazilian government is receiving assistance from Andrew McDonald, president of the Liverpool Cotton Association and a former Brazilian textile executive, and Daniel Sumner, director of the Agricultural Issues Center at the University of California.

e-mail: [email protected]

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