Brazil's WTO Challenge to U.S. Cotton Subsidies: The Road to Effective Disciplines of Agricultural Subsidies

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Brazil’s landmark 2003–2009 challenges before the World Trade Organization (WTO) targeted massive United States (U.S.) government subsidies supporting cotton production. The five Cotton decisions clarified the breadth and limits of agricultural subsidy disciplinary actions through the dispute settlement process of the WTO. The result of the Cotton jurisprudence is increased vulnerability of U.S. and European Union (E.U.) agricultural subsidies to future successful WTO challenges. This article sets forth the background and relevancy as well as key novel legal and evidentiary issues of the case; various important lessons learned for future serious prejudice and prohibited subsidy claims; and various examples of potential claims in other contexts arising from the Cotton jurisprudence.

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