U.S. Representative (D-Ark.)
I’ve been frustrated by this case for years. I simply don’t understand it. I’ve had lengthy discussions with Nobel Prize-winning economists, and I don’t question the sincerity of their convictions. But I am baffled at why experts out there don’t appreciate the importance of the food and fiber system we have in this country. It’s beyond my comprehension how the WTO thinks. I just don’t understand where they’re coming from.
Plains Cotton Growers
This has been a frustrating process for everyone in the cotton industry. This last ruling could’ve been a lot worse. On the face of it, we have to feel good about that part of the situation. However, having said that, for those of us who have watched this process for the last six or seven years, it’s difficult to understand because we don’t think the U.S. cotton industry has done anything to warrant a penalty.
The changes that the U.S. cotton industry made in its program should’ve answered a lot of the concerns that Brazil had. In my judgment, the United States has done all it needed to do on this. The fine that was levied against the United States is pretty typical of what you’d expect from the WTO. However, this is part of the process, and we have to deal with this organization even though we don’t agree with everything it does. We have to work through it as best as we can. That’s about all you can say. We just need to follow through on an appeal and get the fine lowered.
Corpus Christi, Texas
This entire event has been very disappointing. The way it’s been conducted seems like a no-win situation for U.S. cotton. The numbers certainly show that our industry isn’t depressing world prices. Our country was never the problem in this situation. The process is so convoluted that I don’t know if we’ll ever get a fair shake if we were to appeal this any further. As a producer, it’s hard to stand on the sidelines and watch this unfold.
It’s a hard pill to swallow when you think about how much time and energy our industry has spent trying to appeal this WTO ruling and then defend our own position. We knew we were right, but then to receive a ruling like this is very discouraging. As farmers, we’re going through low prices and escalating costs, and then we get hit with this. Then, you see how the WTO would like to get rid of more of our price supports. Since we export so much of our cotton, we’re in a difficult situation. I don’t think we can keep appealing this anymore.