King Cotton in International Trade

The Political Economy of Dispute Resolution at the WTO


In King Cotton in International Trade Meredith A. Taylor Black provides a comprehensive analysis of the WTO Cotton dispute and its significant jurisprudential and negotiating effect on disciplining and containing the negative effects of highly trade-distorting agricultural subsidies of developed countries. To that end, this work details the historic, economic, and political background leading up to Brazil’s challenge of the US cotton subsidies and the main findings of the five WTO reports that largely upheld that challenge. It explores the impacts of the successful challenge in terms of political and negotiating dynamics involving agriculture subsidies and other trade-related issues in the WTO while examining the effects on domestic agriculture subsidy reforms in the United States and the European Union. Finally, this volume sets forth the possible impacts of the Cotton challenge on the negotiating end-game of the Doha Development Round.
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Biographical Note

Meredith A. Taylor Black earned her PhD (2010), summa cum laude, in the area of WTO trade law with the University of Bern in Bern, Switzerland. Her research is focused on agriculture negotiations, subsidies, dispute settlement, and development issues within the WTO.

Table of contents



Part One: Economic and Political Backdrop of US-Upland Cotton

Chapter 1 Global Trade of Upland Cotton

1. Cotton Trading, Supply and Demand Patterns
2. Unique Nature of Cotton as Non-Edible Commodity
3. US Cotton Production & Its Economic Relation to Total US Agriculture
4. Relative Importance of Cotton to Developing/African Countries
5. Cotton Cost Comparisons between US and Other Producers

Chapter 2 Political Economy of Agricultural Subsidy Programs

1. History of US Cotton Subsidy Programs
2. US Cotton Subsidy Programs at Time of Brazil Challenge
3. Other Country Subsidy Programs (China, EU)
4. Political Power of US Cotton Lobby & US Legislative Process

Chapter 3 WTO Political Environment Prior to US-Upland Cotton Case

1. Multilateral Agriculture Negotiations & the Formation of the WTO
2. Agricultural Reform Efforts Post-Uruguay Round
3. Role of African Cotton Producing Countries before Cotton Dispute
4. Role of Brazil before Cotton Dispute
5. Summary of Part One

Part Two: Anatomy of the US-Upland Cotton Dispute and Its Jurisprudential Impact on Disciplining Agricultural Subsidies under WTO Rules

Chapter 4 Origins of Brazil’s US-Upland Cotton

1. Brazil’s Strategic Goals & Relationship with EC Sugar Challenge
2. Strong Evidentiary Basis for Brazil’s Challenge
3. Legal and Economic Assistance to Brazil
4. Novel Legal Issues

Chapter 5 WTO Dispute Settlement: Case Study on US-Upland Cotton

1. WTO Dispute Settlement Overview
2. Relevant WTO Agreements: AoA and SCM Agreements
3. Consultation
4. Original Panel Proceedings
5. Appellate Body Proceedings
6. Compliance Panel Proceedings under Article 21.5
7. Appellate Body Proceedings under Article 21.5
8. Arbitration Proceedings under Article 22.6

Chapter 6 US-Upland Cotton: Key Legal Findings as Precedent for Future WTO Dispute Challenges to Agricultural Subsidies & Lessons Learned from the Involvement of Least Developed Countries

1. Key Legal Findings
2. Lessons from the Involvement of Chad and Benin
3. Summary of Part Two

Part Three: Relevance of the US-Upland Cotton Dispute on the WTO’s Legislative Mechanism, Agricultural Subsidy Programs of WTO Members at Domestic Level, and Sustainability of the World Trade Organization

Chapter 7 Impact of US-Upland Cotton’s Legal Precedent on Negotiation Leverage within the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO

1. Brazil: Use of Litigation to Move Negotiations
2. The C-4, Cotton Initiative and the Creation of the Subcommittee on Cotton

Chapter 8 Political Limits on Cotton Implementation in the United States

1. Reform in the US & Its Limitations
2. Brazil-US Memorandum of Understanding/June Framework

Chapter 9 Effect of Non-Compliance by the US: Ethical and Systematic Considerations

1. Ethical Basis for the Cotton Findings and for Future Reform
2. US Threat to the Legitimacy and Sustainability of the WTO
3. Summary of Part Three



King Cotton in International Trade is meant to serve as a core reference for academic researchers and professionals. Audiences include law and business schools, governmental WTO missions, economic development centers, and international trade law firms.


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