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|Agriculture Coalition Shares Doha Concerns|
NCC joined a coalition of commodity, farm and dairy organizations which expressed concerns about the status of the Doha round negotiations.
In a letter to President Bush that was shared with USDA, USTR and Congressional members, the groups cautioned that the ambitious US offer to reduce trade-distorting domestic supports always has been presented as contingent on achieving the US objective to increase market access and reductions in other trade-distorting practices conducted by US trading partners.
The letter expresses concern that recent comments by WTO negotiators indicate other countries appear to have “pocketed” the US offer on domestic support and are not prepared to meet the US objectives on increased market access. In fact, the European Union and others recently have suggested that the US must offer further reductions even though their offer on market access is not close to US objectives.
The letter from the US farm groups makes several key points: 1) the US offer on domestic supports always has been contingent on achieving commensurate market access; 2) the US offer on domestic supports represents the most the groups could support and that support is contingent on achieving the market access objectives in the US offer; 3) the treatment of “sensitive” products for developed countries and “special” products for developing countries must be limited so as not to erode market access gains made through tariff reductions; 4) newly acceded countries must actively participate in the negotiations and offer improved market access; 5) if any agreement falls short of US objectives on market access, the US offer on domestic supports must be scaled back “commensurate with this diminished market access result.” See letter at http://www.cotton.org/issues/2006/doha.cfm.
|Chambliss Urges Strong Market Access Result in WTO Doha Round|
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Chambliss (R-GA) issued a statement following the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Vietnam calling for “ambitious modalities” and the need for a “strong market access result” in the Doha Round.
He agreed with the APEC statement, saying: 1) the 21-member economies of APEC reinforced the need for a multilateral trade agreement that improves the conditions for trade -- not mere cuts on paper and 2) the statement further underscores the need for the European Union to acknowledge the weight of opinion by the member economies representing nearly half of world trade, world population and more than half the world's GDP.
“The United States has put an ambitious and balanced offer on the table,” Chambliss said. “To this date, the Europeans have not come forward and met our offer in kind. In fact, now EU Trade Commissioner Mandelson believes the U.S. needs to sweeten our offer on domestic support in return for a less than adequate market access package. Let me be clear, the United States offer on domestic support must be calibrated to reflect the market access offers on the table or a final agreement will not pass the U.S. Congress. Incremental adjustments from the Europeans on a market access offer that already falls far short won't do it. I remain hopeful, but as Director General Lamy moves forward this month and tries to forge a deal on modalities, I encourage him help bring about a balanced agreement that will reward ambition rather than punish it.”
|NCC Urges China Commitment|
NCC is urging US negotiators to call on China to participate fully in market access commitments and to reject calls for further concessions on cotton.
In a letter to Deputy US Trade Representative Susan Schwab and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns,
Lange renewed the industry’s call on US negotiators to insist that the agriculture negotiations be conducted as a “single undertaking” and cautioned that the US already has made concessions on market access for the least developed countries in advance of modalities for agriculture.
When combined with the elimination of Step 2 (in compliance with the WTO panel’s decision), modifications of GSM export credit programs and the US proposal on reduction in trade distorting domestic supports, Lange said that the Cancun and Hong Kong ministerial documents reference to “expeditious and ambitious” treatment for cotton already have been met. He said that any further concessions on cotton will cause the industry to carefully review its position on the Doha round negotiations. The letter is at http://www.cotton.org/issues/2006/chinalet.cfm.
|Senate Sets Farm Bill Hearings|
The Senate Agriculture Committee announced a schedule for its first farm bill field hearings.
The initial hearing is scheduled for June 23 at 9 am at Albany State U. in Albany, GA. Hearings also are scheduled for July 17 in Missouri and for July 21 in Pennsylvania at locations to be named later.
Committee sources indicated there will be a hearing in Iowa at a date and location yet to be determined and that there probably will be a total of six hearings by the end of this Congressional session.
In announcing the hearing schedule, Chairman Chambliss (R-GA) said the hearings will allow Committee members to hear directly from producers on how current farm policy is working and what improvements can be made in future farm law.
|USDA Rural Development Head Named|
Agriculture Secretary Johanns announced the appointment of Douglas L. Faulkner to serve as deputy under secretary for rural development.
"Renewable fuels are a vital component of America's energy independence and an important financial opportunity for of our nation's farmers," Johanns said. "Doug Faulkner brings an impressive background in the energy field to USDA and will help us achieve our goal of advancing the development of renewable fuels technology."
Faulkner currently serves as principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the US Dept. of Energy and has a long association with USDA. Faulkner will work closely with Under Secretary for Rural Development Tom Dorr to coordinate the activities of the USDA Energy Council that Johanns announced last December. That panel coordinates energy strategy and supports the development, production and use of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, through an array of USDA research, loan and grant programs.
|Planning for ‘07 BWCC Continues|
Planning for the ‘07 Beltwide Cotton Conferences (BWCC) is continuing with a summer meeting of the BWCC Steering Committee to develop programming for the ‘07 Cotton Production Conference general session and seminars/workshops. The BWCC Technical Conferences chairperson will be meeting later this month to formulate plans for those conferences.
The ‘07 BWCC is set for Jan. 9-12 at the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton hotels.Attendees of the ‘06 BWCC who ordered proceedings should receive those soon.
|Cotton Leadership Program Deadline Approaching|
US cotton industry members are reminded that June 16 is the deadline to submit applications for the Cotton Leadership Program.
Those interested in applying for the ’06-07 class or nominating a fellow industry member are encouraged to visit http://leadership.cotton.org. The site contains program curriculum, eligibility requirements and a downloadable application. Applicants or nominators also may contact NCC’s Member Services at 901-274-9030 or your local Member Services Representative for additional information.
The Cotton Leadership Program, supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from DuPont Crop Protection, is geared to individuals who have the potential and desire to become industry leaders.
|USDA Puts Plantings at 85% Complete|
In the most recent Crop Progress report, USDA reports that 85% of the US cotton crop was planted as of May 28, slightly ahead of the five-year average pace of 81%. Much of the remaining acreage currently unplanted is in Kansas, Oklahoma and northern parts of Texas. However, this typical of the normal planting dates in those states, and each of the three states reports crop progress similar to their five-year averages.
The most recent USDA report also includes the first evaluation of crop conditions.
Throughout the growing season, USDA tracks the condition of the crop by reporting percentages by state that are classified as Very Poor, Poor, Fair, Good, and Excellent. Across the Cotton Belt, 4% of the crop is Very Poor, while another 14% is rated Poor. This compares to only 1% and 7%, respectively, at this time last year. The effects of the drought in the southwest are evident with 28% of the Texas crop rated as Poor or Very Poor.
In other locations, crop ratings are more favorable with California having 89% rated Good and the remaining 11% as Excellent. Mississippi reports 59% in the Good category with another 9% as Excellent.
USDA issues the reports on a weekly basis and also can be accessed from the NCC web site at http://www.cotton.org/econ/cropinfo/progress.cfm.
|Calendar ’05 Mill Use Revised Up|
According to the ’05 annual cotton consumption report by the Commerce Dept., calendar year ’05 total cotton consumption in domestic mills was approximately 3.04 billion pounds or 6.32 million (480-lb) bales. This was revised up from 6.08 million bales.
The report also revised the ’04 calendar year cotton consumption up from 6.25 million bales to 6.49 million bales or about 3.11 billion pounds.
Any changes made to USDA’s crop year mill use estimates as a result of this report will be reported in the next WASDE report scheduled to be released on June 9.
|Sales, Shipments Steady|
Net export sales for the week ending May 25 were 298,800 bales (480-lb). This brings total ’05-06 sales to about 17.13 million bales. Total sales at the same point in the ’04-05 marketing year were slightly more than 14.50 million bales. Total new crop (’06-07) sales are 598,000 bales.
China represents the largest export customer with ’05-06 sales of 8.80 million bales, or 51% of the total. Turkey and Mexico are the second and third largest customers with 1.71 million and 1.69 million bales, respectively. Indonesia and Taiwan complete the top five customers.
Shipments for the week were 381,400 bales, bringing total exports to date to 13.23 million bales, compared with the 10.36 million at the comparable point in the ’04-05 marketing year.With slightly more than two months remaining in the marketing year, weekly shipments must average roughly 400,000 bales to reach the USDA projection of 17.00 million bales.
|Prices Effective June 2-8, 2006|