Results from Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Declaration lays the groundwork for near-term and future action on cotton within the context of multilateral negotiations to liberalize trade in agriculture more broadly and to reach an overall Doha Round agreement. It addresses both the trade and development aspects of the challenges facing global trade in cotton—an issue of particular importance to a number of West and Central African countries.
The Declaration addresses export subsidies, tariffs, and domestic support for cotton:
- Export Subsidies: The Declaration calls for the elimination of all forms of export subsidies for cotton by 2006. (To fulfill this pledge, the United States is already taking action by pursuing legislation to end the “Step-2” program)
- Market Access: Developed countries will give duty- and quota-free access to cotton exports from least-developed countries upon implementation of a final Doha Agreement.
- Domestic Support: Members agreed that the negotiating objective is to reduce trade-distorting domestic supports for cotton more ambitiously and more quickly than the general formula that is ultimately agreed.
The Declaration endorses the efforts of member countries, including the United States, to provide development assistance to the African cotton sector, and it urges the development community to further scale up its cotton-specific development efforts.
With this Declaration, the United States will continue its efforts within the WTO to reform global agricultural trade through an ambitious overall outcome in the agriculture negotiations and reach agreement on a bold agriculture proposal on full modalities.