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Washington Outlook Archive

Cotton Payments May Last Through Current Crop Year

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

It now appears the Phase 2 payments made to US textile manufacturers and cotton shippers under the Cotton Competitiveness Program will last through the current marketing year. After the World Trade Organization ruled earlier this year such payments were illegal, there was a possibility they would be dropped immediately, in the middle of the marketing year - something the cotton textile industry said would result in a severe economic impact. The Senate Agriculture Committee has recommended the program be eliminated at the end of the current marketing year, which would be July 2006. That proposal still has to be approved by Congress and the administration, but industry officials are hopeful it will survive.

The competitiveness program provides for direct payments to US textile manufacturers when the domestic price for raw cotton is higher than the world price. Since its inception in 1995, an estimated $2.4 billion in payments have been made to mills and merchants.

October 2005