An international trade dispute between the US and China has resulted in a new trade enforcement action being launched against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Office of the United States Trade Representative has launched a new trade enforcement action against China at the WTO concerning the Asian superpower's administration of tariff-rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn, claiming China is operating in breach of its WTO commitments and undermining American farm exports as a consequence.
Specifically, the US is claiming that the administration of Chinese tariff rate quotas on imports of short, medium and long-grain rice, wheat, and corn is unclear and inconsistent, with no meaningful information on how it actually administers the quotas, application criteria and procedures. As such, the quotas have been criticized for not being transparent, predictable or fair.
Additionally, China has been accused of maintaining impermissible restrictions on importation and failing to provide notice of the total quantities permitted to be imported, or of any changes to this amount. This lack of compliance with WTO rules means many non-Chinese traders are not able to enjoy full access to the country's tariff-rate quotas.
In a separate matter, the US is requesting that the WTO establish a dispute settlement panel to consider whether China provides market price support for these agricultural goods in excess of its domestic support commitments, thus inflating prices above market levels and creating artificial government incentives for Chinese farmers to increase production.
US trade representative Michael Froman said: "China's tariff-rate quota policies breach their WTO commitments and limit opportunities for US farmers to export competitively-priced, high-quality grains to customers in China. The US will aggressively pursue this challenge on behalf of American rice, wheat and corn farmers."