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2000: Lancement des négociations sur l’agriculture (mars). Voir l’aperçu général
2001: Lancement du Programme de Doha pour le
Inclusion de l’agriculture (novembre)
2004: Accord sur un “Cadre” (août)
2005: Nouveaux accords conclus à la Conférence ministérielle de Hong Kong (décembre)
2006: Projet de modalités (juin)
2007: Projet révisé de modalités (juillet)
2007-2008: Négociations intensives sur la base de documents de travail (septembre-janvier)
2008: Projet révisé de modalités (février, mai et juillet)
2008: Projet révisé de modalités (février, mai, juillet et décembre)
The meeting was the first under the decision on cotton agreed at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013. In the decision, members said they would hold “dedicated discussions” twice a year to “enhance transparency and monitoring” of cotton trade policy, within the agriculture negotiations.
The Cotton-4 (Burkina Faso speaking), which have been pressing for substantial reform in cotton trade, said the meeting and the Bali decision were welcome after a “long and unfortunate period of lethargy” in the talks on cotton. They said they hoped the meeting would signal new start and urged all members to participate.
On the table was a new Secretariat document (TN/AG/GEN/34 circulated on 10 June 2014, and also numbered TN/AG/SCC/GEN/13). The document draws on information members have notified to the WTO on the policies they have implemented on cotton across the three main areas covered in the WTO agriculture negotiations: market access, domestic support and export subsidies and other policies with similar effects.
The report includes data on the ceiling levels members have agreed for their subsidies and their tariffs, along with the levels they have applied in practice, which can be considerably lower.
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Delegations had asked what outcome to expect from this meeting, the chairperson, New Zealand Ambassador John Adank, said.
His reply: this is the first meeting and therefore members should emerge much better informed and much more engaged on the trade policies that impact cotton. “I’m sure the process will evolve as we go along.”
However he stressed that the monitoring and transparency in this series of meetings set up by ministers in Bali should not be considered as a substitute for the negotiations on cotton, which he said remain a critical part of the Doha Round talks.
Some members welcomed the current low levels of support for cotton in many countries and the fact that all four out of five countries with the right to subsidize exports — because they have “export subsidy reduction commitments” — have chosen not to do so.
Others focused on what they described as high levels of support, tariff protection and export restrictions in some large emerging economies. This sparked a discussion about whether the support is small when averaged over the large number of their farmers and its significance if the country is a major importer.
Various members called for additional information to be included, for example on new agricultural support legislation that includes policies for cotton, and on the movements in cotton tariffs.
The chairperson said this could only be done if members agree and supply the information. The Bali decision says: “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.”
Ambassador Adank added that during these dedicated discussions members are free to supply information on measures not notified to the WTO and therefore not included in the Secretariat’s background paper.
This session took place in the afternoon, after a separate meeting on the development and aid aspects of cotton that same morning.
Another meeting later in the year, date to be announced
Chairperson’s statement back to top
Utiliser les liens ci-dessous pour télécharger les fichiers audio ou écouter ce qu’a dit le Président pendant la réunion.
Déclarations du Président:
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Opening speaking notes of the chair, Ambassador John Adank
First dedicated discussion of the relevant trade-related developments for cotton, 20 June 2014
Today is a day dedicated to cotton with this afternoon’s discussion on trade policy aspects of the issue following on from this morning’s 21st round of the Director-General’s consultative framework mechanism on the development aspects of cotton (DGCFM)
I attended the DGCFM this morning and provided, as customary, a brief update on the state of play in agriculture and the trade-related aspects of cotton.
The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) was one of the speakers at this morning’s DGCFM and provided its usual very informative update on the latest developments in the global cotton market. ICAC has kindly offered to make copies of its presentation available to participants of this meeting. These copies can be found in the back of the room.
This first dedicated discussion on the trade-related developments for cotton is being held as mandated by the Bali Ministerial Decision on Cotton of 7 December 2013 (document WT/MIN(13)/41 and WT/L/916 dated 11 December 2013) which states, inter alia that:
“Paragraph 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.”
Many in this room today have been following cotton for a long while now and are quite familiar with the history of this dossier. However, I think that it is useful for us to remember how we came about to these dedicated discussions.
Cotton has always been an important part of the Doha negotiations since the Sectoral Initiative for Cotton was first presented in 2003. As we all know, the July 2004 Framework and the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration call for cotton to be treated “ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically” within the Agriculture Negotiations. In the same manner, the Draft Agriculture Modalities text (TN/AG/W4/Rev.4) includes specific language on cotton.
It was in the same spirit that Ministers had agreed at MC-8 on specific elements of political guidance on cotton and confirmed their commitment to on-going dialogue and engagement to progress the mandate in paragraph 11 of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration to address cotton “ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically”, within the Agriculture negotiations.
In the preparatory process for Bali, the C-4 tabled a proposal for a decision on cotton at the 9th Ministerial Conference. The proposal was circulated on 24 October 2013 in document TN/AG/GEN/33 and TN/AG/SCC/GEN/12. Relevant Members engaged in discussions and explored possible areas of convergence relating to what could be an outcome on cotton. Thanks to substantive and engaged preparatory work, cotton was the subject of a specific decision by Ministers in Bali.
The Bali Ministerial Decision on Cotton (WT/MIN/(13)/41 and WT/L/316 refers) addresses both the trade and development aspects of the WTO mandate on cotton, and by providing an opportunity for reporting on, and discussion of, trade policy aspects of cotton, provides useful context for our ongoing efforts to reform cotton trade in the context of the DDA agriculture negotiations.
Indeed, Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to address cotton “ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically” within the agriculture negotiations and to increase Members’ work towards reform as per the August 2004 Decision, the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration and the 2011 Ministerial Conference. While Ministers regretted the failure so far to reach an agreement on a final outcome, they remain committed to further work and progress in cotton, based on the above-mentioned frameworks, with the 2008 revised draft agriculture modalities providing a reference point for that work.
In Bali, Ministers agreed to enhance transparency and monitoring in relation to the trade-related aspects of cotton. To this end, Ministers agreed that twice a year, we will discuss trade-related developments in cotton particularly in the areas of market access for LDCs, domestic support and export competition.
Today’s first dedicated discussion on cotton represents the start of a process for enhanced transparency and monitoring of cotton developments across all three pillars of agriculture, and is the first concrete step of one clear deliverable from the Bali Ministerial. It constitutes therefore an important event in the context of the wider post Bali agenda, and I hope that, for all the reasons just mentioned, we will be able to make this a productive and successful first meeting.
Cotton has been a key issue in the agriculture negotiations and in development issues related to the WTO since 10 June 2003 when it was raised by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré on behalf of the Cotton-4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) in a meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee, which oversees the Doha Round negotiations.
These consultations on the development aspect of cotton have been described as unique in the WTO because they deal with a single commodity, and do so monitoring aid (particularly for least-developed countries), trade, market conditions and other aspects.
They are also separate from the negotiations on reforming cotton trade under the Doha Round agriculture negotiations, the two forming a dual track under the same mandate: the 1 August 2004 General Council decision in the Doha Round — paragraph 1(b) — and the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference’s declaration.
The first meeting on development assistance for cotton was in October 2004.
Meanwhile, successive chairs of the agriculture negotiations have said repeatedly that there will be no deal in agriculture if there is no deal in cotton.
The Cotton-4 (C-4) are supported by a number of other members and groups of members
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