U.S. wheat organizations support Trump administration's trade enforcement at the WTO

29.09.2017

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body has established a panel to rule on a complaint filed in December 2016 by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding China’s administration of its tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for wheat and other agricultural products.

The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are pleased with the Trump administration’s aggressive use of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism on behalf of wheat farmers.

This is the second panel established at the WTO under the Trump administration to defend the interests of wheat farmers. The first will examine whether China’s market price support programs for wheat, corn and rice violate its trade commitments.

“It is very encouraging to see the Trump administration defend farmers against governments that say to the world they will live up to their commitments, but then scheme to disregard the rules we all need to ensure global trade is conducted freely and fairly,” said David Schemm, president of NAWG. “Wheat growers will always stand up and applaud when the administration expands, improves and enforces trade agreements on behalf of farmers.”

According to a 2016 Iowa State University study sponsored by USW, China’s market price support programs cost U.S. wheat farmers between $650 million and $700 million annually in lost revenue by pre-empting export opportunities and suppressing global prices.

China also has a WTO commitment for an annual TRQ of 9.64 million tonnes of imported wheat. The panel established Sept. 22, 2017, in the TRQ case will review evidence that China has not administered this TRQ in a transparent, predictable and fair manner as required by its WTO obligations. The result is that China’s TRQ administration unfairly impedes wheat export opportunities for U.S. wheat farmers, as well as farmers from Canada, Australia and other wheat exporting countries, to the detriment of Chinese consumers.

“Trade enforcement is crucial for building confidence in existing and new trade agreements,” said Mike Miller, chairman of USW. “The Trump administration’s actions should send a signal that strong and enforceable trade rules are vital to the United States and to U.S. farmers, specifically.”


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