WTO approves U.S. subsidy compliance panel

U.S. cotton farmers will get another day in court after the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement body agreed to Brazil’s request for a compliance panel to review U.S. implementation of an earlier panel’s ruling against the U.S. cotton program.

Brazil filed its second request for a compliance panel at a meeting of the dispute settlement body in Geneva on Sept. 28. The U.S. Trade Representative blocked the first in early September, saying the United States government has taken “extraordinary steps” to comply with the ruling.

Brazilian officials claim the U.S. government has “adopted no implementation measures at all and that the implementation measures it has adopted fall far short of compliance with the covered agreements.”

Following WTO procedures, a three-member compliance panel will be established within a short time period, according to National Cotton Council staff members who have been following the case. That panel will then establish procedures and a timetable for consideration of Brazil's charges.

WTO dispute settlement procedures provide that a compliance panel report is to be completed within 90 days of the panel’s establishment.

“The National Cotton Council will continue to work with the US Trade Representative’s office and USDA in developing a defense to the latest Brazil charges,” the Council said in a statement.

The Brazilian government has said it will seek trade sanctions of up to $1 billion from the United States because of U.S. non-compliance with the WTO ruling.

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