"U.S. and Brazilian trade negotiators reached agreement on June 17, 2010, on a 'Framework agreement' regarding a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement case over U.S. cotton subsidies and GSM-102 [Export Credit Guarantee Program] agricultural export credit guarantees. The Framework agreement--which lays out a number of 'steps and discussions'--represents a path forward toward the ultimate goal of reaching a negotiated solution to the dispute, while avoiding WTO-sanctioned trade retaliation by Brazil against U.S. goods and services. The Framework includes quarterly discussion on potential limits of trade-distorting U.S. cotton subsidies (recognizing that actual changes will not occur prior to the 2012 farm bill) and provides benchmarks for further changes to the GSM-102 program. The so-called Brazil cotton case is a long-running WTO dispute settlement case (DS267) initiated by Brazil--a major cotton export competitor--in 2002 against specific provisions of the U.S. cotton program. In September 2004, a WTO dispute settlement panel found that certain U.S. agricultural support payments and guarantees--including (1) payments to cotton producers under the marketing loan and counter-cyclical programs, and (2) export credit guarantees under the GSM-102 program--were inconsistent with WTO commitments. In 2005, the United States made several changes to both its cotton and GSM-102 programs in an attempt to bring them into compliance with WTO recommendations. However, Brazil argued that the U.S. response was inadequate. A WTO compliance panel ruled against the United States in December 2007, and the ruling was upheld on appeal in June 2008."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32571