Analysis of the Brazil-USA cotton dispute

William Ridley, Stephen Devadoss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explain and conceptually analyse the origins and outcomes of the Brazil-USA cotton dispute. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis is conducted using a conceptual framework to show the effects of US policies on Brazil and the world cotton market. The historical context of the conflict is presented, to explain the motivations of both countries and the background of the dispute. Findings: US cotton subsidies and related policies have the effect of harming international producers, including Brazil. This analysis, along with an explanation of Brazil's role in world cotton production, explains why Brazil had cause to complain to the WTO and why the WTO ruled in its favor. Practical implications: The implications of these rulings are that the international dispute and its unique resolution could foreshadow similar conflicts in the future between different parties over different commodities, and the analysis presented in this paper will serve to explain them. Originality/value: This is the only paper to present a complete history of the Brazil-USA conflict, along with a conceptual analysis of the targeted US policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-162
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of International Trade Law and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Brazil
  • Cotton
  • Disputes
  • International trade
  • Subsidies
  • United States of America
  • World Trade Organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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