Status of the WTO Brazil-U.S. Cotton Case [October 1, 2014]   [open pdf - 384KB]

"On October 1, 2014, Brazil and the United States reached an agreement to resolve the long-running cotton dispute in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The two countries signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) that spelled out the terms of the agreement: Brazil relinquishes its rights to countermeasures against U.S. trade or any further proceedings in the dispute; the United States agreed to new rules governing fees and tenor for the GSM-102 export credit guarantee program; Brazil agreed to a temporary Peace Clause with respect to any new WTO actions against U.S. cotton support programs while the 2014 farm bill (P.L. 113-79) is in force or against any agricultural export credit guarantees under the GSM-102 program as long as the program is operated consistent with the agreed terms; the United States would make a onetime final payment of $300 million to the Brazil Cotton Institute (BCI) with explicit use-of-fund conditions; and both counties agreed to routine semi-annual reporting under the MOU. The cotton dispute settlement case (DS267) was 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 ruled that (1) certain U.S. agricultural support payments for cotton distorted international agricultural markets and should be either withdrawn or modified to end the market distortions; and (2) U.S. Step-2 payments and agricultural export credit guarantees for cotton and other unscheduled commodities were prohibited subsidies under WTO rules and should be withdrawn."

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CRS Report for Congress, R43336
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