RECOMMENDATION on the draft Council decision on the accession of the European Union to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)

8.5.2017 - 15540/2016 – C8‑0024/2017 – 2016/0349(NLE)) - ***

Committee on International Trade
Rapporteur: Fernando Ruas

Procedure : 2016/0349(NLE)
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on the draft Council decision on the accession of the European Union to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)

(15540/2016 – C8‑0024/2017 – 2016/0349(NLE))


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (15540/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 207(3) and (4) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0024/2017),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1) and (4) and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0187/2017),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC, est. in 1939) is one of the oldest International Commodity Bodies (ICBs), currently bringing together 27 cotton producing, consuming and trading countries [1].

The ICAC assists governments in promoting a sound and better informed world cotton economy by improving transparency in world cotton market, raising awareness for new challenges or problems, fostering international cooperation, gathering statistical data, providing technical information and forecasts.

The ICAC remains one of the few ICB of which the European Union (EU) is not yet a member[2], regardless of 9 Member States have been former Members of the ICAC[3]. As cotton is extremely important to the Union's economic, trade and development objectives, EU cannot afford to stay outside the ICAC.

The accession of the EU to ICAC will imply a reduction of the annual contribution paid to this organisation, when compared to those paid by the 9 Members States mentioned.

Furthermore, membership in this International Body will allow the EU to enhance co-operation and dialogue on a wide range of cotton issues; access timely, accurate, relevant information and analytical advice; will facilitate linkages and partnerships between cotton producers, the textile sector, the consumers organizations and public authorities.

Your rapporteur is convinced that it is in the best interests of the EU as a whole to accede to the ICAC and urges the European Parliament to support EU accession to this International Body. Speaking with one voice internationally will ensure greater consistency of action and influence. The EU's membership will also give a much-needed boost to this International Commodity Body, irrespectively of its historical relevance to the world cotton economy and its importance as a data gathering/forecasting centre. The aim of this accession is to have an active membership of the EU, within a stronger and more effective ICAC.

Your rapporteur also considers important to recall in this explanatory statement all the concerns expressed in relation to the world cotton economy at INTA working document “on EU accession to the International Cotton Advisory Committee” of 4 June 2012[4] and at the European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2013 on “sustainability in the global cotton value chain[5], underlining from this last Resolution the necessity to “work together through the ICAC in order drastically to minimise environmental degradation, including water footprints and the use of pesticides and insecticides; [...] the importance of fighting violations of human and labour rights and environmental pollution throughout the cotton value chain, including in the textiles and clothing sectors;”[6], particularly “child and forced labour[7] and “the need to create the right conditions for small-scale producers from developing countries to gain access to the main value chains serving the Union’s textile and clothing industry, move up the cotton-textile-clothing value chain and grasp the potential of organic and fair trade cotton[8].

From the Resolution, your rapporteur also would like to remind our call upon the People’s Republic of China- “the biggest world cotton market with the largest cotton reserves, to consider joining the ICAC and to play a constructive role in the cotton sector;” and to firmly “combat the use of child and forced labour in the cotton and textiles sector[9] and to “all cotton producing countries to create an enabling environment for adequate monitoring and reporting of labour conditions in the cotton sector by government, industry, independent NGOs and trade union bodies[10].

Moreover, your rapporteur find important to underline the European Parliament calls on the European Commission to “i. report regularly to Parliament on its work and activities in ICBs, including the ICAC; ii. make full use of the potential of ICAC membership in order to strive for enhanced market transparency in the cotton garment industry and for sustainability; iii. react swiftly to any possible cotton export restrictions or other actions leading to excessive price volatility; iv. continue to ensure that the voices of European cotton growers, ginners, traders and researchers are heard;” and “v. improve coordination, statistical data collection, forecasting, information sharing and monitoring in respect of global cotton supply and value chains [11].

For all the reasons explained above, the rapporteur considers that EU accession to ICAC can effectively contribute to achieving these significant objectives which are of key importance to our Union and will permit the European Parliament to accompany closer all ICAC activity.

  • [1], consulted 28/02/2017.
  • [2]  “EU is member of the International (I) Coffee Organisation (O), I. Cocoa O., I. Tropical Timber O., I. Sugar O., I. Olive Oil Council (C), I. Grains C., I. Rubber Study Group (SG), I. Lead and Zinc SG, I. Nickel SG, I. Non-Ferrous Metals SG.”. “On various occasions (namely in its conclusions of 2004 (ref. 8972/04), 2008 (ref. 9986/08) and 2010 (ref. 9648/10)), the Council of the European Union has requested the European Commission to consider EU membership of ICAC. It authorised the Commission in 2013 to negotiate, on behalf of the European Union and on the basis of negotiating directives, the accession of the Union to ICAC (Council Decision 13406/13, 16 Sept. 2013).” Page 2 of the Council Decision on EU accession to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) (
  • [3]  Belgium, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Spain.
  • [4]  Working document, PE 491.080v01-00.
  • [5]  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0099.
  • [6]  Points 2 and 3 from the European Parliament Resolution of 14 March 2013 on “sustainability in the global cotton value chain”.
  • [7]  As referred in Point 7 of the quoted European Parliament Resolution of 14 March 2013 on “sustainability in the global cotton value chain”.
  • [8]  Point 4 from the European Parliament Resolution of 14 March 2013 on “sustainability in the global cotton value chain”.
  • [9]  Point 20 from the European Parliament Resolution of 14 March 2013 on “sustainability in the global cotton value chain”.
  • [10]  Point 9 from the European Parliament Resolution of 14 March 2013 on “sustainability in the global cotton value chain”.
  • [11]  Point 21 from the European Parliament Resolution of 14 March 2013 on “sustainability in the global cotton value chain”.



EU accession to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)


15540/2016 – C8-0024/2017 – COM(2016)07122016/0349(NLE)

Date of consultation / request for consent





Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary






Committees asked for opinions

       Date announced in plenary







Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision








       Date appointed

Fernando Ruas





Discussed in committee





Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Maria Arena, Tiziana Beghin, David Borrelli, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Heidi Hautala, Yannick Jadot, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Anne-Marie Mineur, Sorin Moisă, Franz Obermayr, Franck Proust, Tokia Saïfi, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Joachim Schuster, Joachim Starbatty, Adam Szejnfeld, Hannu Takkula

Substitutes present for the final vote

Eric Andrieu, Bendt Bendtsen, Dita Charanzová, Edouard Ferrand, Danuta Maria Hübner, Agnes Jongerius, Stelios Kouloglou, Sander Loones, Bolesław G. Piecha, Fernando Ruas, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Pedro Silva Pereira, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Edward Czesak, Marco Zanni

Date tabled






Becerra Basterrechea Beatriz, Charanzová Dita, Schaake Marietje, Takkula Hannu


Czesak Edward, Loones Sander, Piecha Bolesław G., Starbatty Joachim


Beghin Tiziana, Borrelli David


Zanni Marco


Kouloglou Stelios, Mineur Anne-Marie, Scholz Helmut


Andrikienė Laima Liucija, Bendtsen Bendt, Caspary Daniel, Cicu Salvatore, Fisas Ayxelà Santiago, Hübner Danuta Maria, Proust Franck, Ruas Fernando, Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra José Ignacio, Saïfi Tokia, Szejnfeld Adam, Wałęsa Jarosław


Andrieu Eric, Arena Maria, Jongerius Agnes, Lange Bernd, Martin David, Moisă Sorin, Schuster Joachim, Silva Pereira Pedro


Hautala Heidi, Jadot Yannick





Ferrand Edouard, Obermayr Franz