Ball is in your court, China
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Obama Administration announced two separate but complementary agriculture trade enforcement actions at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against policies of China. The U.S. requested the formation of a dispute settlement panel on the level of China’s domestic supports and challenged the way China administers tariff rate quotas (TRQs). Both actions relate to wheat, corn and rice.
Both moves were hailed by USA Rice.
“Earlier this year, the U.S. requested consultations with China at the WTO on the very high levels of China’s domestic support for corn, wheat and rice producers, but the results were unsatisfactory,” explained Betsy Ward, USA Rice CEO and President. “The next step in the WTO dispute process is requesting a panel to hear the arguments, and we’ve now done that.”
Ward said it could take as many as two or three months to set up a panel, and that a report from that panel could take another 10 months.
“We knew from the outset this was a long process, which is why keeping things moving forward is important,” she added.
The new case the United States launched against China today challenges the way China administers tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for the import of several commodities, including wheat, corn, and rice. China provides import licenses under the TRQs contrary to several of China’s WTO commitments and in a manner that effectively acts as import restrictions prohibiting the fulfillment of these TRQs.
“While the United States cannot yet ship under China’s large rice TRQ, this case will be precedent-setting,” Ward said. “We support efforts to have China administer these TRQs in a transparent manner that allows trade to occur, looking ahead to the day when the U.S.-China rice phytosanitary protocol is finally signed and we are shipping rice to this important market.”
USA Rice is also pressing the administration to broaden enforcement action against other WTO members, like India and Thailand, whose domestic support levels for rice are inconsistent with WTO rules and have resulted in large increases in production, stocks, and exports that harm U.S. rice producers and exporters.