Trade and markets

Cotton initiative

The group of countries associated with the 'Cotton initiative' (Sectoral Initiative in Favour of Cotton) comprises a number of West and Central African countries (WCAs) where cotton plays an essential role in their economic development.  Over 10 million people in that region depend directly on cotton production and several millions more are indirectly affected by the problems now encountered in this sector. These countries are concerned with the damaging effects of cotton subsidies on their economies and call for phasing out of such subsidies and the need for compensation by the subsidizing WTO Members while these subsidies are still in place. The issue was first brought to the attention of the WTO Membership in April 2003 and subsequently discussed in the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture and the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) in June and July 2003.

The countries concerned sought a decision on their proposal at the Cancún Ministerial Conference where the issue had been included in the agenda. However, together with the rest of the agenda, no decision was reached in Cancún on the cotton initiative.  Debate on how to best address the concerns expressed under the cotton initiative continues, including the issue on whether this should be handled separately from the negotiations on agriculture or as part of these negotiations.

Cotton initiative developments

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