April 25, 2019

US grains industry scores another victory at WTO against China


A World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement panel has found that China administered its tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for grains including wheat and corn inconsistently, based on its WTO commitments.

In their announcement about the WTO decision last week, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue explained that contrary to those commitments, China's TRQ administration was not transparent, predictable or fair, and that it ultimately inhibited TRQs from filling, denying US farmers access to China's market for grain.

The panel report is the second significant victory for US agriculture this year. The US Department of Agriculture said that the latest WTO decision, "together with the victory against China's excessive domestic support for grains, will help American farmers compete on a more level playing field".

"The (Trump) administration will continue to press China to promptly come into compliance with its WTO obligations," Lighthizer said.

The USDA claimed that China's grain TRQs have annually underfilled. USDA estimates that if China's TRQs had been fully used, it would have imported as much as $3.5 billion worth of corn, wheat and rice in 2015 alone.

"We will use every tool available to gain meaningful market access opportunities for US grains and other agricultural products", said Perdue.