The United States also will extend an assistance program (West African Cotton Improvement Program) for the so-called “Cotton-4” (C-4) countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali upon the expiration of the existing program in April 2012.

In response to the USTR announcement the NCC issued a statement, available at www.cotton.org/news/releases/2011/wacip.cfm, that: 1) commended the Administration for its efforts to resolve cotton trade issues, 2) recommended that the US cotton industry financially support and engage in a more structured exchange between U.S. and W. African industry leaders, 3) urged other major cotton producing countries to follow the NCC’s lead and offer the same duty free access to the LDCs, and 4) urged major cotton producing countries to promote an open and transparent system for global cotton fiber trade, by collectively removing distortions from the cotton fiber market -- which have been particularly disruptive to growers in LDCs.

China also announced that it would be offering $20 million worth of technical and financial assistance to four W. African nations to help their cotton growers. At a press conference in Geneva to announce the initiative, China's trade minister, Chen Deming, said the assistance to Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali would be provided over a three-year period, with the possibility of renewal. The effort will include transferring technology; providing technical assistance for research into plant varieties and seed; supplying cotton plant varieties suitable to growers in W. Africa; supplying agricultural machinery, fertilizer, and seed; and financing educational programs of benefit to cotton growers.