Plenary session 15: Reducing Trade Costs in the Cotton Value Chain

2 July 2015
Geneva, WTO Headquarters
— Room D — 9.00-10.30



This plenary session will examine the issue of trade costs from a sectoral perspective, with a specific focus on the cotton value chain.  High trade costs erode the competitiveness of low-income suppliers. Discussions and negotiations at WTO since the "Sectoral Initiative for the Cotton Sector" was submitted in 2003 have highlighted that the cotton sector is a driver of economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries, and particularly in LDCs. Cotton trade also has a role to play in economic empowerment of women. Research points to a range of issues that drive up transport costs for cotton suppliers, such as transport infrastructure failings, transit regimes and customs documentation issues. The aim of this session is to examine the issue of trade costs for cotton exports, analyse how LDCs can identify priority areas for growth, the barriers they may face in building capacity in these areas, and how to attract the support of development partners and investors to enhance export performance and add value in the cotton chain. 

Moderator: Adam Sneyd, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Guelph, Canada

Panel discussion:

  • Paul Brenton, Lead Economist, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group
  • Hippolyte Dah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, Burkina Faso
  • Kai Hughes, Managing Director, International Cotton Association
  • Pocoun Damé Kombienou, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Benin
  • Abdel K. Konaté, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mali
  • Steve MacDonald, Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Aziz Mahamat Saleh, Minister of Economy, Trade and Tourism Development, Chad
  • José Sette, Executive Director, International Cotton Advisory Committee