U.S. Blocks Brazil Panel Petition

Move to probe subsidies is first step in a new review of cotton policy.

In the World Trade Organization, moves by one country against another are not uncommon. Brazil, long a critic of U.S. farm programs, has already scored its own victories against cotton producers; and recently made a move to probe those U.S. programs in more detail.

However, the U.S. has blocked a move that would have set up a panel to examine U.S. compliance with a last year's pro-Brazil ruling regarding what have been classified as illegal subsidies for American cotton growers.

Brazil had requested that the WTO set up a panel to investigate the current U.S. cotton policy as it has been changed since the ruling. The U.S. rejected criticism that Washington is failing to comply with the WTO on the program. Policymakers note that changes have been made to the U.S. program - including the dropping of Step 2 payments - aimed at bringing it in line with WTO expectations.

Brazil alleges that not enough has been done, and will continue its efforts to put a panel in place to review U.S. actions on the matter.

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