– WTO RULES AGAINST U.S. COTTON: The appellate body of the World Trade Organization on Monday rejected a U.S. challenge to a compliance panel decision that sided with Brazil in its claims the U.S. had not fully implemented judgments finding its cotton subsidies in breach of global rules. The ruling advances the prospects of Brazil imposing punitive tariffs against the U.S. of as much as $1 billion. A spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said, “changes made by the United States brought the challenged payments and guarantees into full compliance with the WTO’s recommendations and rulings.” He disputed some of the panel findings that U.S. support of cotton farmers suppresses prices and said, “Since the period looked at by the WTO, cotton prices have risen substantially and are expected to remain high. Moreover, the United States has not been and is not making any payments tied to cotton production.”

– CROOKE TO HOT TOPIC: Michael Crooke has joined Hot Topic Inc. as president of its namesake division. He takes over duties previously handled by Betsy McLaughlin, chief executive officer. Crooke was senior advisor to America Online co-founder Steve Case at the Revolution Living investment company. Between 1999 and 2005 he was president and ceo of Patagonia and its parent company, Lost Arrow Corp. Crooke also served as chairman and ceo of Pearl Izumi. In addition, Jerry Cook took on the title of chief operating officer of the City of Industry, Calif.-based company and will continue to oversee the firm’s operational support functions. He had been president of the company.

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