September 27, 2017, Arlington, VA — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the decision by the Trump Administration to make sure China is living up to its commitments on wheat trade. In response to action by the Administration, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body has established a panel to rule on a complaint filed in December 2016 by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding China’s administration of its tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for wheat and other agricultural products. USW and NAWG are very 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. According to a 2016 Iowa State University study sponsored by USW, China’s market price support programs cost U.S. wheat farmers between $650 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 metric tons (MMT) 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.
“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 NAWG President David Schemm, a wheat grower from Sharon Springs, Kan. “Wheat growers will always stand up and applaud when the Administration expands, improves and enforces trade agreements on behalf of farmers.”
“Trade enforcement is crucial for building confidence in existing and new trade agreements,” said USW Chairman Mike Miller, a wheat farmer from Ritzville, Wash. “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.”
More information about the market price support case is posted online at https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds511_e.htm and at http://www.uswheat.org/newsRelease/doc/8707CB93926092D98525802D0056551C?Open.
USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.