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WTO opens key talks on cotton exports

Dec. 2, 2008 at 4:09 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The head of the World Trade Organization said talks on the cotton market that opened in Geneva Tuesday were a key to promoting development in the Third World.

Director General Pascal Lamy told delegates to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development High Level Multistakeholder Meeting on Cotton that establishing an equitable cotton program "has become a litmus test of the commitment to make the WTO Doha Round of global trade negotiations a truly development round."

Developing cotton-producing nations have been clamoring for easier access to industrialized nations through the elimination of cotton subsidies in the United States and Europe.

Lamy said removal of subsidies would have to be accomplished through the Doha Round and the world would need to help poor countries develop their agriculture and exporting infrastructures.

"The time has come to deliver on the promise of a fairer global trading system for cotton," said Lamy, who also warned that the developing world economic downturn increased the urgency of the situation.

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