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Resolution of the 99th session of the ACP Council of Ministers - COTTON

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a.                 HAVING REGARD to the European Parliament’s vote on and approval of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the major principles of the European Commission’s proposals, particularly the application of a ceiling for payments that does not meet the ACP Group’s demand for a shift from a 65% decoupling to a 100%  decoupling of internal support granted to European Union cotton farmers ;

 

b.                 HAVING REGARD to the new Farm Bill passed by the United States Senate on 21 June 2012, adopted by President Obama on 7 February 2014 and, which maintains stabilization instruments for cotton, which will develop a support system that will cause even greater trade distortions in favour of American cotton producers than the current distorting subsidies that run counter to WTO rules;

 

c.                  WISHING to implement the commitment made by all WTO members in Hong Kong, China, in 2005, to address the cotton dossier "ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically";

 

d.                 REITERATING ITS COMMENDATION of the continued efforts of the representatives of cotton-producing and ACP countries to get the European Union to apply a 100% decoupling to domestic subsidies for EU cotton production, using the opportunity offered by the current reform of the EU  common agricultural policy, as well as action undertaken in respect of the authorities of the United States of America, in order to take advantage of the current reform of the Farm Bill  to bring their support for the cotton sector into complete conformity with the WTO rules and to abolish distortive subsidies granted to their cotton farmers;

 

e.                  NOTING with  satisfaction, the organisation of a series of consultations under the WTO Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism for Cotton facilitating an update on the support provided to the cotton sector, as called for in the Hong Kong mandate (China) ;

 

f.                  CONCERNED AT the steady decline in the disbursement of funds for cotton which is constantly highlighted by C4 within the WTO Director-General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism for Cotton;

 

g.                 COMMENDS AND ENCOURAGES the increase noted in the number of beneficiaries of development aid for cotton;

 

h.                RECALLING the ambition expressed by the European Union and the African cotton-producing countries of the ACP Group when concluding the EU–Africa Partnership for the Development of the Cotton Sector in Paris, on 6 July 2004, this ambition having been reiterated in the Action Framework for the European Union-Africa Cotton Partnership agreed in 2009;

 

i.                   REITERATING ITS COMMENDATION of the continued efforts of cotton-producing countries to rebuild the cotton sector, including by adopting regional and national strategies to streamline the sustainable development of this sector and its contribution to the economic stability of States, as well as to rural development and food security;

 

j.                    CONVINCED of the urgent need to promote the processing of cotton using local and industrial  methods in the producing countries and regions ;

 

k.                 COMMENDING, once again, the new C-4 interim proposal on cotton of 24 October 2013 in the framework of the WTO negotiations, with a view to finding an agreement acceptable to all WTO members, while preserving the specificity of treating cotton ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically; and

 

l.                  ACKNOWLEDGING the Ministerial decision on cotton taken at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, which provides a basis on which to work towards the definitive resolution of the cotton issue;

 

1.    Invites the WTO members to translate into reality the results of the Ministerial Conference in Bali with a view to reaching agreement on WTO modalities, including for cotton;

2.    Reiterates the call to the European Union to ensure ambitious treatment for cotton by applying a 100% decoupling of support for European cotton producers, taking into account the fact that the average decoupling rate in the agriculture sector is set at 90%;

3.    Urges the Authorities of the United States of America, once again, to seize the opportunity of the Farm Bill reform to bring the cotton support granted to their farmers into complete conformity with the WTO rules by abolishing any measures which could cause even further distortion in the international cotton market;

4.    Encourages the WTO Director-General to continue the series of meetings of the Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton and again calls on aid providers to better coordinate their interventions and further improve information sharing;

5.    Undertakes to carry out all an any high-level action required to bring about a change in the position of the European Commission and the United States in the direction desired by the ACP Group, notably the complete removal of all cotton subsidies;

6.    Encourages the ACP Secretariat and the members of the Group as a whole, to define all measures that may be taken within the relevant ACP, European and American bodies;

7.    Undertakes to continue working together with the Cotton Group at the WTO  to obtain a definitive solution to the commercial aspect of the cotton dossier and to coordinate its actions with COS-Cotton for the development of the cotton sector in ACP countries;

8.    Calls for the support of bilateral and multilateral partners in the adoption and implementation of cotton policies whose primary objectives would be  the development of cotton production, manufacturing and enhanced value-added at national, regional and continental level, and the transfer or acquisition of the necessary technologies and

9.    Invites the European Commission and the ACP Secretariat to facilitate continued support for the inclusion of cotton among the priority sectors in the programming of the 11th EDF;

10. Instructs the President of the ACP Council of Ministers to forward this resolution to the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Congress and Senate of the United States of America, and the Director-General of the WTO.

 

Nairobi, 18 June  2014

 


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