United States wins WTO dispute with China over grain support
On Feb. 28 the World Trade Organization released findings in a dispute between the United States and China in which the U.S. alleged China provided excessive government support for grain producers in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The WTO panel reviewing the case determined that China’s support for growers of wheat and two types of rice exceeded WTO allowances. The original complaint, filed in 2016, also included Chinese corn producers. The WTO declined to rule on the corn portion of the complaint, concluding that China had come into compliance.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and the USDA and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said China’s market price support policy artificially raises Chinese prices for grains above market levels, creating incentives for increased Chinese production of agricultural products and reduced imports.
The ruling is a significant victory for U.S. agriculture that will help American farmers compete on a more level playing field, the two agencies said. This dispute is the first to challenge China’s agricultural policies that disregard WTO rules.
“We know that America’s farmers and ranchers thrive in a market-oriented, rules-based global economy. That means all countries must play by the rules, which is why this finding is so important to U.S. agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue.
U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson welcomed the ruling.
“I’m very pleased that the WTO has ruled in favor of our farmers. Today’s ruling is a huge win at a time when such wins are sorely needed,” Peterson said. “It should enable a fairer playing field and allow our farmers to focus on farming. I hope the panel will issue a similar ruling on Chinese corn subsidies, but it’s also my hope that this ruling can help our negotiators reach a positive path forward to reopen trade with China and reclaim the markets that the trade war has cost our farmers.”