U.S. Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)re-introduced legislation to put an end to the $147 million in taxpayer dollars going to the Brazilian cotton agribusiness each year.
"Spending millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize Brazil's cotton industry is absurd public policy," said Rep. Kind. "Congress needs to get its priorities straight to ensure a fiscally responsible, smart food and farm bill for the 21st century. We need to act now, because the Agriculture Committees have shown that they are unwilling to make the commonsense reforms needed to eliminate these outrageous payouts."
This legislation stops all payments to the Brazilian Cotton Institute, and puts pressure on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to make the necessary reforms to be World Trade Organization (WTO) compliant to ensure that American goods, services, and intellectual property aren't subject to future trade retaliations.
"Our subsidy program in the US, particularly in the case of the Brazil cotton payout, only serves to coddle corporate agribusiness here in the U.S.," said Rep. Blumenauer. "It's time for us to get our own house in order, rather than pay out millions of dollars each year to Brazilian farmers. This legislation is an important step in reducing the cost of the cotton program to the American taxpayer, while simultaneously encouraging reform."
In 2008, Brazil successfully argued before the WTO that U.S. agriculture subsidies to cotton producers violated WTO agreements. Following the WTO's ruling, instead of reforming the cotton program when facing retaliatory tariffs and sanctions from Brazil, Congress and the Administration agreed to pay the Brazilian cotton industry $147.3 million a year -- the amount determined as the losses Brazilians incur as a result of U.S. cotton subsidies.