The “Cotton-4” countries seeking a level playing field in the sector — Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad and Mali — told WTO members on 28 November that recent price falls were hurting their producers and called for a swift conclusion to the negotiations to slash policies that distort markets. They were speaking in a meeting on development assistance in cotton, ahead of a separate session of the WTO agriculture negotiations focusing on cotton to be held that same afternoon. The Cotton-4 said they appreciated development assistance they have received from various international donors, including South-South cooperation from Brazil, China and India, and they described the reforms they are undertaking together with their needs for further aid. But they also expressed concern about the falling prices, which the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) is forecasting “optimistically” to stay at current low levels, and how to compete effectively in world markets when, according to an ICAC presentation, their yields remain static while those of other countries such as India — now the world’s largest cotton producer — continue to rise. Some other countries, such as China, Argentina, India, Nigeria and Brazil, supported their call for countries to avoid subsidizing cotton producers when prices fall, and for a quick conclusion on negotiations that aim to make steep cuts in domestic support, tariffs and export subsidies on cotton. This meeting on development was the 22nd in a series of consultations held regularly since 2004, formally called the WTO “Director General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton”. The current chairperson is Deputy Director-General David Shark, on behalf of Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. Although the official focus is primarily on development assistance, the meeting also receives regular updates on the separate negotiations on cotton, and the agriculture negotiations as a whole, and on world market trends. The gLAWcal Team LIBEAC project 2 December 2014 (Source: WTO)