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By
AFP
Published
Dec 3, 2009
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African cotton producers threaten to haul US to WTO court

By
AFP
Published
Dec 3, 2009

GENEVA (AFP) — Africa cotton producers Tuesday 1 December warned that they may file a complaint at the World Trade Organization against the United States if the issue over subsidies paid to US cotton growers is unresolved.


Photo: AFP

"The C4 does not exclude using judicial tools at its disposal at the WTO in case a solution is not found," said Burkina Faso Commerce Minister Mamadou Sanou, referring to the so-called Cotton Four countries -- Benin, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso.

"At the moment we are being patient, but we are not going to wait forever," he warned, on the sidelines of a WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva.

"We have showed our willingness to negotiate... but if we are not satisfied, we can appeal to the dispute settlement body," added the minister.

West African cotton producers have been fighting for the cotton issue to be included in the long-running Doha Round of trade talks.

They want industrialised countries, particularly the United States, to lower domestic subsidies that African nations say depress world cotton prices at poorer countries' expense.

Benin Trade Minister Christine Ouinsavi also noted that the "fight has gone on for too long," noting that cotton producers have tabled a proposal on the issue a year ago but Washington has yet to reply.

The United States has already lost a previous case at the WTO over its cotton subsidies.

In November, Brazil won authorisation from the WTO to start imposing sanctions reaching hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the United States over unfair US cotton subsidies.

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