Committee on Agriculture - Special Session - Sub-Committee on Cotton - 15th dedicated discussion of the relevant trade-related developments for cotton - 28 May 2021 - Report by the Chairperson, Ambassador Gloria Abraham Peralta


28 MAY 2021

Report[1] by the Chairperson, Ambassador Gloria ABRAHAM PERALTA

1.  Pursuant to the Bali Ministerial Decision on Cotton of 7 December 2013[2] and the Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Cotton of 19 December 2015[3], the 15th Dedicated Discussion of the Relevant Trade-Related Developments for Cotton (the Dedicated Discussion) took place on 28 May 2021. The Dedicated Discussion was held back-to-back with the 35th Round of the Director-General's Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton (DGCFMC) dealing with the development assistance aspects of cotton.

2.  In my introductory remarks, I provided an update on the state of play in the agriculture negotiations with a focus on cotton. I noted that the facilitator-led process initiated in October 2020 would end soon, and referred to the report made by the two cotton facilitators, Sergio CARVALHO from Brazil and Emmanuel OUALI from Burkina Faso, during the CoA Special Session (CoA-SS) meeting that took place three days prior to this meeting.

3.  I noted that while cotton is recognized by many Members as an important element of an MC12 agricultural package, in view of its critical role for development and for the livelihoods of people in many LDC Members, the topic - in particular trade distorting cotton support – was to be considered as part of the overall agriculture negotiations, especially as part of negotiations on domestic support overall. In this context, Members had expressed their willingness to explore ways to improve cotton-related transparency in a targeted manner, with due account of the fact that cotton already benefits from a specific enhanced transparency mechanism through the biannual Dedicated Discussions.

4.  I noted that some suggestions were made in this regard, such as incorporating the cotton questionnaire in the G/AG/2 transparency requirements: the facilitators observed an appetite for discussing a well-defined and substantiated proposal on this, which may take some time but was doable in their view. I took the opportunity to urge all Members to intensify their efforts in the coming weeks to work on such potential transparency-related inputs that would effectively add some value to the mechanisms currently in place.

5.  On the way forward, I noted that the report made by the facilitators would be circulated in writing shortly, and that I would also circulate my own report summarizing my assessment of the state of play in the negotiations, including on cotton. I indicated that I would convene a Cotton Quad Plus meeting at Heads of Delegation level in the coming weeks to take stock of the situation. In addition, I reminded Members of the Cotton Development Assistance component, which is complementary to the trade track and is also of great importance. This component would be addressed in the context of the Director General's Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton.

[1] This report is circulated under the Chair's own responsibility.

[2] Document WT/MIN(13)/41 - WT/L/916, dated 11 December 2013.

[3] Document WT/MIN(15)/46 - WT/L/981, dated 21 December 2015.