The comments were made in a meeting that several delegates described as unique because it deals with a single commodity, and does so by looking at trade, development and other aspects.
Although the official focus is primarily on development assistance, the meeting also receives regular updates on the negotiations on cotton and on agriculture as a whole, and on market conditions.
They heard that development assistance for cotton has increased, both in the amounts committed and the proportion that has been disbursed.
Members also appreciated the latest presentation by the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC). In addition to the regular analysis of price and market trends, the presentation also looked at challenges facing sub-Saharan producers, and at how cotton trade could be streamlined by simplifying documentation and other bureaucratic procedures.
The discussions took place in consultations held regularly since 2004 under a programme formally called the WTO “Director General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton”, currently chaired by Deputy Director-General Harsha Vardhana Singh, on behalf of Director-General Pascal Lamy — the last meeting before the new management team takes over in September and October.
These consultations are separate from the negotiations on reforming cotton trade under the Doha Round agriculture negotiations, but both are mandated under the 1 August 2004 General Council decision in the Doha Round — paragraph 1(b) — and the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial conference.
The consultations’ main purpose is to exchange information on aid for cotton, but members are also briefed on the latest developments in the negotiations and the latest market conditions, and they comment on those and on related developments.
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