A World Trade Organization panel ruled that the United States. had not gone far enough in eliminating subsidies for cotton under WTO rules. The deadline for the U.S. to appeal that decision is this Friday.
Even though the U.S. eliminated the Step-2 cotton program, the WTO upheld the original challenge by Brazil of U.S. cotton policy. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer doesn't agree with that assessment.
"We fully believe that the changes that were made in the cotton program as a result of the challenge from Brazil have brought us into compliance with the WTO," Schafer says. "We're disappointed in the ruling that was made by the board on our position on cotton, but we continue to believe that we fall within the guidelines and are going to operate that way."
This will be the final opportunity on this issue should the U.S. decide to appeal. Choosing not to appeal would open the door for trade sanctions against U.S. products.