|Revised Text for WTO Framework Agreement Under Review|
The revised draft text for a WTO framework agreement is under review in Geneva, with discussions discussions likely to extend through the weekend. As currently drafted, the text provides for cotton issues to be negotiated in the context of other agricultural provisions.
The draft text is being reviewed by the cotton industry’s cleared advisors, as will any further revisions that may occur as a result of discussions over the weekend. NCC Chairman Woody Anderson said a statement would be issued after the framework text has been thoroughly reviewed and its implications for the US cotton industry are fully evaluated.
|African Delegation Tours US Cotton Operations|
NCC, Cotton Council International, Cotton Incorporated, USDA, USAID and affiliated national and regional interest organizations hosted a delegation of African agriculture and trade ministers who toured US cotton production, marketing, processing and research facilities.
The group from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali participated in 5 days of private sector and university meetings in North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas during which they toured cotton and textile research laboratories, USDA cotton classing facilities, local farms and field trials. Participants also visited US cotton growing areas with growing conditions similar to those in West Africa; shared benefits of using US cotton grading standards that are used internationally; and explored mutual trade, investment and capacity building opportunities.
The trip concluded with meetings in Washington with US government officials to discuss reactions, concerns and ideas for future opportunities.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said that during the West African Ministerial Conference in Burkina Faso, a memorandum of understanding was signed between USDA and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation that will accelerate the transfer and dissemination of technologies developed by USDA scientists to West African researchers and then to the region’s small farmers.
NCC Chairman Woody Anderson told the group the US cotton industry “will continue to look for ways to strengthen our partnership with the cotton producers of West Africa.” Anderson participated in the Burkina Faso Ministerial Conference last month as part of an industry endeavor to improve understanding and establish a close working relationship with the West African cotton-producing countries. NCC leaders earlier this year had hosted a delegation from Mali.
|Final Counterpart Regulations Announced by Services & EPA|
The Fish & Wildlife Services & the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the Services) announced the completion of the Joint Counterpart Regulations for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final regulations are a collaborative effort between the Services, EPA and USDA to bring the EPA into compliance with the ESA when making decisions regarding registration activities of pesticides (see 6/11 Cotton’s Week).
The issue was brought to light by several lawsuits filed under the ESA by activist groups complaining that the EPA did not consult with the Services as required by the ESA. According to a recent General Accounting Office report, such consultations run chronically late, and could delay the registration of certain crop protection products by years.
The Counterpart Regulations will allow the EPA to work closely with the Services during the registration process and rely on EPA assessments input from the Services for all but the most serious concerns for a product’s effect on species.
These regulations were supported vigorously by commodity groups, technology providers, forestry interests, public health districts and others. Of the some 70,000 comments that were received by the Services on this ruling, about 40,000 came from agricultural and other supporting interests.
The NCC has been involved heavily in this issue, working in coalitions and alone to generate grassroots and congressional support for the rule’s issuance.
|ACP/Cotton Foundation to Hold Summer Meeting|
American Cotton Producers (ACP) leaders will join Cotton Foundation members in a joint meeting in early August. The ACP and the Foundation, chaired by California producers, John Pucheu and Don Cameron, respectively, will discuss the critical national and international agenda facing the cotton industry including trade issues and the Congressional agenda. Mike and Christy Seyfert, key staffers on the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, respectively, will outline the issues that will come before those panels and Congress.
Senior NCC staff will analyze the ’04 Congressional elections and update the groups on environmental issues. Updates and analysis will be provided on the status of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Brazil case against the US cotton program; on the latest information on current Doha Round of WTO trade talk developments; and on other trade issues.
Attendees will be asked to provide input on agenda issues for the ’05 Beltwide Production Conference in New Orleans. In addition, reports will be provided on legal challenges to the cotton and other research and promotion programs, and discussions will be held regarding current provisions and new concepts for crop insurance; political fundraising strategies; and the NCC’s finance plan.
|’04-05 Cotton Leadership Class Chosen|
NCC’s Cotton Leadership Development Committee has selected the ’04-05 cotton leadership class.
Members of the 22nd class are: producers – Debra Barrett, Edcot, TX; Justin Cariker, Tunica, MS; Max Denning, Benson, NC; and Adam Hatley, Mesa, AZ; ginner – James Askew, Servico Gin, Inc., Courtland, AL; warehouseman – Ronald Lee, Jr., McCleskey Cotton Co., Bronwood, GA, TX; merchant – Dale Cougot, Paul Reinhart, Inc., Richardson, TX; crusher – Craig Moore, PYCO Industries, Inc., Lubbock, TX; Cooperative – Carlo Bocardo, Calcot, Ltd., Bakersfield, CA, and Robert Oppenheim, SWIG, El Paso, TX.
Commenting on the absence of a manufacturer applicant, Parkdale Chairman Duke Kimbrell said it is a reflection of industry consolidation and economic conditions in the textile sector. He said it has become very difficult for manufacturers to authorize key people to take time away from their day to day assignments to participate. He expressed hope conditions would improve sufficiently to restore manufacturer participation in ’05.
Over the next year, the class will visit with industry leaders, tour production and processing operations, and observe research activities. They will receive communications training, attend NCC’s Annual Meeting, meet with lawmakers in Washington, DC, and participate in orientation sessions with DuPont Crop Protection, Cotton Incorporated and the New York Board of Trade.
The program is supported by a grant from DuPont to The Cotton Foundation.
|USDA Deregulates WideStrike Insect Protection|
Dow AgroSciences LLC has received from USDA deregulated status for WideStrike™ Insect Protection cotton, the company’s first cotton insect protection trait. WideStrike Insect Protection is a new, stacked insect-protection trait that expresses the Cry1F and Cry1Ac proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in cotton plants.
Joe Sobek, global cotton leader for Dow AgroSciences, said the deregulation is considered the first step toward full US regulatory approval for WideStrike with a pre-market consultation with the Food and Drug Administration pending and registration of the trait by the EPA anticipated later this year. “In the meantime, a third year of field testing of WideStrike is being conducted this season under an EPA Experimental Use Permit (EUP),” Sobek said.
WideStrike initially will be available in new elite cotton varieties from PhytoGen Seed Company. Current plans call for WideStrike to be available alone and also stacked with the Roundup Ready technology.
|June Consumption Slips Below May Rate|
According to the Commerce Department, June (5-week month) total cotton consumption in domestic mills was 290.7 million pounds for a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6.20 million bales (480-lb.). Last year’s June annualized rate was 6.59 million bales. The May (4-week month) estimate was lowered by 398,000 pounds to 236.0 million. The revised seasonally adjusted annualized rate of consumption for May is 6.22 million bales, lower than last year’s May annualized rate of 6.87 million.
Based on Commerce estimates from Aug. 1, ’03, through July 3, ’04, projected consumption for crop year ’03-04 would be 6.27 million bales, compared with USDA’s latest estimate of 6.3 million bales. Preliminary July and revised June figures will be released by Commerce on Aug. 26.
|Sales Slide, Shipments Steady|
Net export sales for the week ending July 22 were 32,000 bales (480-lb.), resulting in total ’03-04 sales of more than 15.1 million. Sales at the same point in the ’02-03 marketing year were almost 13.3 million bales. Total new crop (’04-05) sales are 2.8 million bales (480-lb.).
Shipments for the week were 294,400 bales, bringing total exports to date to 13.4 million bales, ahead of the 11.7 million bales at the comparable point in ’02-03.
|Tobacco Buy-Out Plan Passes Senate|
Both the Senate and House have passed plans to buy-out tobacco quota.
The Senate bill would provide growers and quota holders $12 billion over 10 years at a rate of $8 per pound for quota holders and $4 per pound for growers. This version would be funded by tobacco companies based on their market share. The House bill would provide growers and quota holders $9.6 billion over 5 years at a rate of $7 per pound for quota holders and $3 per pound for growers. The House version would be funded through the Treasury Department.
|Memphis Territory NE Quote Available for Upcoming Step 2 Calculations|
Since April 24 of this year, the cif Northern Europe (NE) quote for ’03/04 crop 1-3/32” Memphis Territory (MT) cotton has not been available. As a result, Step 2 payment rates have been determined based on the difference between the California/Arizona quote and “A” Index Northern Europe. With the start of the ’04/05 marketing year on Aug. 1, NE quotes for both Memphis and California will be available, and the calculation of Step 2 rates specifies that the lower US quote is used. Current price quotes show the MT (NE) to be about 5 cents below the CA/AZ (NE) quote.
The Step 2 payment rate in effect for Aug. 6-12 will be the first to reflect the use of the Memphis quote. That rate, which will be announced on Aug. 5, depends on price data from Friday, July 30 through Thursday, Aug. 5. Since July 30 is in the ’03/04 crop year, then the only available US quote is CA/AZ (NE), which is roughly 9 cents above the A (NE).
For Monday, Aug. 2 through Thursday, Aug. 5, current price relationships indicate that the MT (NE) quote will be the lowest US quote. Currently, the ’04/05 MT (NE) quote is one of the lowest quotes used in the determination of the A (NE). As a result, the average of Friday’s CA/AZ (NE) quote with MT (NE) quotes for Monday-Thursday will produce a substantially smaller Step 2 payment.
|Prices Effective July 30 - August 5, 2004|