WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2014 - The National Cotton Council (NCC) said today it is “deeply disappointed and disturbed” by statements reportedly made by representatives of the Brazilian cotton industry during their recent visit to Washington.
“If reports are accurate, a Brazilian cotton delegation…has misrepresented the carefully negotiated agreement between U.S. and Brazilian grower organizations and wrongly portrayed the reformed cotton provisions in the farm legislation now being considered by Congress,” NCC said.
NCC said the growers’ agreement was negotiated during a series of cordial meetings conducted in Brazil and the United States. The organization said Brazilian growers received a detailed explanation of the insurance program, requested further modifications to cotton provisions, and spent considerable time discussing ways the U.S. and Brazilian grower organizations could cooperate.
NCC said Brazilian cotton producers were pessimistic that Congress would finish a long-term farm bill in time to comply with international rules on cotton subsidies and avoid trade sanctions on U.S. exports to Brazil.
Brazil challenged U.S. cotton subsidies at the World Trade Organization and won the right to impose $830 million in retaliatory tariffs. However, the tariffs were delayed until Congress finalized a long-term farm bill that would deal with U.S. subsidies in a WTO compliant manner.
NCC criticized comments from Brazilian growers in support of tariff retaliation against U.S. growers “who have delivered significant policy reform and supported further modifications to the cotton provisions.”
Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said today one of his staffers met with the Brazilian delegation. “They’re mad,” Conaway said. “They have to face 2,000 cotton farmers without being able to answer what we’re doing.”
Conaway said he would prefer that “we set American production agriculture safety nets on our own, and I believe what we’ve done complies with WTO.”
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