Monday, February 25, 2008

Late news: U.S. appeals WTO cotton ruling

Sorry this is late, but: the United States government is appealing the World Trade Organizations ruling that upheld a previous ruling claiming it has not done enough to cut farm subsidies to cotton farmers.

The WTO’s second decision was made public December 18, claiming the U.S. government had not complied with a 2004 ruling stating much of the nearly $4 billion subsidy program, including export-credit guarantees and other payments to farmers, exceed spending pledges. The WTO first ruled in July against the United States.

From Bloomberg, via Environmental Working Group:

"We are appealing because the changes made by the United States have
brought its programs into full compliance with the WTO's recommendations and rulings in the original cotton case," Gretchen Hamel, a spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office, said today in an e-mailed statement from Washington.

"We were very disappointed with the compliance panel's findings," she
said. "The appeal challenges the erroneous findings on both U.S. support payments and export credit guarantees. We will continue to consult with members of Congress and private sector stakeholders, including the agricultural community, as we move forward with the appeal."

The lawsuit was originally filed by Brazil, the world’s fifth-largest producer of cotton, claiming U.S. subsidies amounted to unfair trading practices by depressing world cotton prices.

Mark your calendars, the appeal process can last up to 90 days.

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