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Learning English - Words in the News
04 March, 2005 - Published 13:16 GMT
US cotton subsidies
Cotton picking

The United States has suffered a final defeat in a high profile trade dispute with Brazil about subsidies paid to cotton growers. There's been celebration in Brazil following its victory at the World Trade Organization. This report from Tom Gibb:

Listen to the story

"Alleluia!" was the first reaction of one of the leaders of Brazil's largest farming organization, the Rural Society, which helped to bring the case against US cotton subsidies to the WTO. "It's the first time," said former Rural Society president Luis Haffers, "that a less developed country has won against a major power. This shows you can take action at the WTO and prove your point," he said.

Many here see the ruling against US cotton subsidies as just the first step in tipping the balance of future world trade talks in favour of developing countries. Brazil is still waiting for a similar WTO ruling in a case against European sugar subsidies, and officials say they're now planning WTO action against subsidies to US soy farmers.

The United States and Brazil are vying with each other to become the world's largest soy producer. The Brazilian government will also be hoping that the WTO ruling will help its overall economic strategy: this is to use agricultural exports to try to claw its way from under the burden of huge debts.

Tom Gibb, BBC, Sao Paulo

Listen to the words

to bring the case against
to challenge

money paid to make prices lower

a major power
an influential country

take action
do something

tipping the balance
influencing the result of something in a particular way

in favour of
to benefit



to claw its way
to come out of a situation with great difficulty

under the burden
under the pressure

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