Image via Wikipedia
by COHA Research Associate Felix Blossier
• While pressuring developing countries to adopt pro-trade measures, the U.S. does not enforce its WTO commitment on cotton subsidies.
• By pointing out this problem Brazil asserts itself in the international arena while the voice of African cotton exporting countries is not heard at the WTO.
On April 20th 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two largest economies of the Western hemisphere, thus calming a decade-long, sometimes rancorous, dispute involving Washington and Brasilia over the subject of subsidies paid out by the U.S. to its cotton producers. By initiating a U.S.-financed fund, which would be allocated to cotton producers in Brazil and all over the world, this agreement was widely seen as resolving, once and for all, the existing trade tensions between the two countries. But, at the same time, the MoU can be seen in other, less charitable, ways as a token agreement and as a refusal by the U.S. to reform its basic system and to comply with international regulation.