The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) welcome two trade dispute actions by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) challenging Chinese government policies that distort the wheat market and harm wheat growers throughout the rest of the world by not fairly administering its annual tariff rate quotas (TRQ) for corn, rice and 9.64 million metric tons (MMT) of imported wheat. The WTO does not require that TRQs fill every year, but it has established rules regarding transparency and administration that are intended to facilitate the use of TRQs.
NAWG and USW also applaud the USTR’s request for a dispute panel in its WTO challenge to China’s trade-distorting market price support programs for wheat, corn and rice. This is a crucial step toward reining in a policy that costs U.S. wheat farmers between $650 and $700 million annually in lost income by pre-empting export opportunities and suppressing global prices, according to a 2016 Iowa State University study sponsored by USW.
“The facts in these two cases go hand-in-hand, demonstrating how Chinese government policies create an unfair advantage for domestic wheat production,” said Gordon Stoner, president of NAWG and a wheat farmer from Outlook, Montana. “Both actions call attention to the fact that when all countries follow the rules, a pro-trade agenda and trade agreements work for U.S. wheat farmers and their customers.”
NAWG and USW are encouraged to see the U.S. government take such a strong position on trade enforcement, which is crucial for building confidence in existing and new trade agreements.