The Ministerial Conference,
Having regard to paragraph1 of Article IX of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization;
Decides as follows:
1. We stress the vital importance of cotton to a number of developing country economies and particularly the least-developed amongst them.
2. We reaffirm the Decision adopted by the General Council on 1 August 2004, the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, and our commitment, expressed at the 2011 Geneva WTO Ministerial Conference, to on-going dialogue and engagement to progress the mandate in paragraph 11 of the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration to address cotton “ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically”, within the agriculture negotiations.
3. We regret that we are yet to deliver on the trade-related components of the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, but agree on the importance of pursuing progress in this area.
4. In that regard, we consider that the Decision adopted by the General Council on 1 August 2004 and the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, remain a useful basis for our future work. We acknowledge the work on cotton that has been done in the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session in connection with the revised draft agriculture modalities contained in document TN/AG/W/4/Rev.4 dated 6 December 2008, which provides a reference point for further work.
5. In this context, we therefore undertake to enhance transparency and monitoring in relation to the trade-related aspects of cotton. To this end, we agree to hold a dedicated discussion on a bi-annual basis in the context of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session to examine relevant trade-related developments across the three pillars of Market Access, Domestic Support and Export Competition in relation to cotton.
6. The dedicated discussions shall be undertaken on the basis of factual information and data compiled by the WTO Secretariat from Members’ notifications, complemented, as appropriate, by relevant information provided by Members to the WTO Secretariat.
7. The dedicated discussions shall in particular consider all forms of export subsidies for cotton and all export measures with equivalent effect, domestic support for cotton and tariff measures and non-tariff measures applied to cotton exports from LDCs in markets of interest to them.
8. We reaffirm the importance of the development assistance aspects of cotton and in particular highlight the work of the Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton in reviewing and tracking of cotton-specific assistance as well as infrastructure support programmes or other assistance related to the cotton sector. We commit to continued engagement in the Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton to strengthen the cotton sector in the LDCs.
9. We welcome the positive trend in growth and improved performance in the cotton sector, particularly in Africa.
10. In this context, we underline the importance of effective assistance provided to LDCs by Members and multilateral agencies. We invite the LDCs to continue identifying their needs linked to cotton or related sectors, including on a regional basis, through their respective dialogues with development partners and national development strategies. We urge the development partners to accord special focus to such needs within the existing aid-for-trade mechanisms/channels such as the EIF and the technical assistance and capacity building work of relevant international institutions.
11. We invite the Director General to continue to provide periodic reports on the development assistance aspects of cotton, and to report on the progress that has been made in implementing the trade-related components of the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, at each WTO Ministerial Conference.