The spotlight was shone on the importance of cotton for millions of farmers, processors and traders globally as the World Trade Organization marked the first anniversary of World Cotton Day.
The Cotton-4 group (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) initiated the cotton sectoral initiative at the WTO with the aim of improving the global trade rules as they relate to cotton, and to shed light on the many linkages among trade, cotton and development.
World Cotton Day aims to highlight the numerous gains enabled by international trade in cotton, including: selling to consumers abroad; increasing foreign exchange earnings; attracting investment in local businesses; employing more workers; and fostering growth and technology transfer in the wider economy.
While widely appreciated as a fibre used to make textiles and clothes, cotton is also used in the production of edible oils, animal feed and fuel.
Cotton production, processing, and trade represent a key source of income for a number of economies worldwide.
In many African least developed countries (LDCs), cotton is key to job creation and economic stability.
At the WTO, members have taken meaningful steps to promote cotton trade. They have eliminated agricultural export subsidies, enhanced market access for cotton and cotton by-product exports from LDCs and worked to enable developing countries to benefit more from every step of the cotton value chain.