AGRICULTURE AND DEVELOPMENT: COTTON
WTO “cotton days”
The WTO organizes twice a year, since the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, "cotton days" consisting of back to back Dedicated Discussions (trade aspects) and Rounds of the DGCFMC (development assistance). These discussions are conducted through the Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton and the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session through dedicated discussions.
Cotton Portal, launched at the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference, provides a single-entry point for all the cotton-specific information available in WTO and ITC databases on market access, trade statistics, country-specific business contacts and development-assistance related information.
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The WTO's “cotton days” bring together WTO delegates, international experts and representatives of high-level governmental and intergovernmental organizations, as well as key private sector actors , to discuss progress in development assistance, cotton market trends and technical information underpinning cotton negotiations.
The cotton days are unique in that they address in a holistic manner market conditions , trade-related measures and domestic policies as well as development projects for cotton, a commodity of particular importance to least-developed countries.
Dedicated discussions on cotton
Dedicated discussions on cotton take place in the context of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session. They were put in place to enhance transparency and monitoring in relation to the trade-related aspects of cotton. The discussions rely on factual information compiled by the WTO Secretariat in a background document updated twice a year. The information in this document is based on notifications and other data provided by WTO Members.
The document examines developments regarding market access, domestic support and export competition in relation to cotton.
Development assistance aspects of cotton
Discussions of development assistance in the cotton sector take place in a forum known as the “Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton” (DGCFMC) . The main aim is to discuss new cotton projects, track developments regarding development assistance and exchange information on results and lessons learned from the implementation of such projects.
Director-General's Evolving Table on Cotton Development Assistance
The Evolving Table is the WTO's core document on cotton development assistance. Updated twice a year, it lists development cooperation projects/programmes regarding cotton. The table provides information on donors and beneficiaries as well as detailed data on disbursements and commitments. The latest trends presented in the table are discussed in the Cotton Days.
Table on Domestic Cotton Sector Reforms
The beneficiaries of cotton development assistance are encouraged to continue their reforms in the cotton sector. The Table on Domestic Cotton Sector Reforms lists the reforms put in place by beneficiaries based on the notifications received by the WTO Secretariat in advance of the Cotton Days.
Trends in the cotton sector
The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) makes presentations during the Cotton Days. ICAC's presentations provide updated information on the cotton market including data on production, export/import, use and stocks as well as international prices of cotton.
Cotton has been a key issue in WTO agriculture negotiations and an important development-related issue since it was raised in 2003 by four African least-developed countries — Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali — known as the Cotton Four or C-4.
The WTO organizes twice a year, since the Bali Ministerial Conference held in December 2013, "cotton days" covering both the development assistance aspects of cotton and trade-related developments in the cotton sector.
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