MEMPHIS – The World Trade Organization (WTO) Panel hearing the U.S./Brazil cotton dispute is expected to issue its Final Report today to the parties in the dispute.
According to WTO procedures, the Final Report is to be treated confidentially by the parties until translations are available and the report is distributed to all WTO members.
“We have heard estimates that translation could take between two to four weeks,” NCC Chairman Woody Anderson said. “We are aware of press reports concerning the interim decision. The U.S. government indicated it was planning on appealing the decision if it was not significantly changed. At this time, there have been no indications the final report would differ significantly from the interim decision.”
Anderson said it is unlikely there will be any immediate impact on current U.S. farm programs. Any changes to the cotton program that are warranted given the Panel decision, he noted, only will affect future U.S. cotton crops.
“It is far too premature to speculate on any such changes,” he said. “We must review the actual decision and wait for the appeal process to conclude before we can begin to evaluate what, if any, changes need to be made to the U.S. cotton program. We expect to be in consultation with the U.S. government concerning the report and any response they intend to file.”
The Texas cotton producer reiterated the NCC’s appreciation for the Congressional and Administration encouragement offered to the U.S. cotton industry following the release of the Interim Report. That included statements in support of the farm law by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Ranking Member Charles Stenholm (D-TX) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick’s commitment to appeal the decision.
Anderson recently testified before Congress that the U.S. cotton program is WTO-compliant and provides an effective financial safety net with minimal impacts on overall production and prices.