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NCC Targets Farm Program, Trade

The Memphis, Tenn.-based National Cotton Council's (NCC's) priorities for 2004 include defending key US farm program provisions and influencing trade negotiations.

"We will build and maintain coalitions that remind Congress the current farm law is balanced in its approach to production, conservation and nutrition program funding,"  said Bobby Greene, chairman, at NCC's annual meeting, held last month in New Orleans. Warning that growing budget deficits will create pressure to cut spending, he added: "The cotton industry is very fortunate to have members of Congress who understand our industry and are willing to address key issues. But we must be prepared to adapt to change with several pending retirements in the Senate and redistricting issues in the House."

NCC's trade agenda includes: working to ensure World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations related to US cotton are conducted in the context of overall agricultural negotiations, while continuing to voice concerns over US textile tariff elimination; advocating a thorough review and considerable improvement of textile provisions prior to congressional consideration of a Central American Free Trade Agreement;  pressing the Bush administration and Congress to address damage caused by China's contribution to market disruptions; ensuring the US cotton industry benefits from new bilateral trade initiative proposals; and ensuring a successful defense of the US cotton program against Brazil's WTO challenge.

March 2004