US brings WTO dispute against China

US brings WTO dispute against China

The US has initiated World Trade Organization proceedings against China over various agricultural commodities, including wheat, rice and corn. 

The US said that China breaches WTO rules with various "domestic support measures in the agricultural sector", a WTO announcement noted. 

"The measures concern domestic support allegedly provided by China for agricultural producers of, among other crops, wheat, Indica rice, Japonica rice, and corn," the WTO said. 

Announcing the action, US representatives claimed China's "market price support" for these products is estimated to be almost $100bn in excess of the levels China committed to under its WTO obligations. This creates an artificial incentive for Chinese producers to increase production of rice, wheat and corn, the US Department of Agriculture argued. 

"Through tariff cuts and the removal of other trade barriers, China has gone from a US$2bn-a-year market for US agricultural products to a $20bn-plus market," said US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack. "But we could be doing much better, particularly if our grain exports could compete in China on a level playing field. Unfortunately, China's price supports have encouraged wheat, corn and rice production in China that has displaced imports. When China joined the WTO, it committed to limit this kind of trade-distorting support, which it has failed to do. This has resulted in significant losses to American producers. We see substantial opportunities to meet import demand for grains in China if China is willing to operate a WTO-consistent trade regime."