National Cotton Council leaders are in the last stages of a monumental effort to 1) pass a new farm bill and 2) educate their members on its major provisions, many of which will not take effect until the 2015 crop season.
But that isn’t all that the organization has been involved with in recent months. The Council’s top leaders and staff have had a full plate of trade issues, including defending the U.S. cotton industry against yet another complaint about the U.S. cotton program.
The latter, a request that a countervailing duty be imposed on imports of U.S. cotton into Peru, was especially galling, according to National Cotton Council Chairman Wally Darneille. Darneille, who is also president and CEO of Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, discussed the complaint during a speech at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show.
For more on the Peruvian Countervailing Duty case, see http://deltafarmpress.com/cotton/racing-calendar-cotton-programs-new-farm-bill?page=1
“It was something that I can tell you from personal experience made industry members furious,” said Darneille. “A foreign government came to us and asked every one of us who was exporting cotton to Peru to provide them with details of every single invoice we had issued to buy cotton or sell cotton since 2006 and give them the reasons for our decisions.
“We all refused to do that, but the U.S. Trade Representative told us we were obligated to do so. We told them we thought that was proprietary information. The Council did engage immediately, strongly. To make a long story short, we finally got a decision out of INDECOPI (the Peruvian Commission on Competition and Intellectual Property) there was no harm, no foul. So this case is over.”
Darneille also discussed the NCC’s participation in a number of meetings ahead of the World Trade Organization’s Ministerial in Indonesia.
“During these meetings, we had the opportunity to highlight the drastic changes in the cotton market over the past five years – and inform WTO officials about an area that all of the world’s cotton growers need to be concerned – the erosion of our market share by synthetic fibers.”