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US wins second WTO case against China

YANKTON, S.D. -- The United States has won another World Trade Organization ruling against China, this time for their use of tariff rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn. U.S. trade officials successfully argued China wasn't filling its tariff rat...

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YANKTON, S.D. - The United States has won another World Trade Organization ruling against China, this time for their use of tariff rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn. U.S. trade officials successfully argued China wasn't filling its tariff rate quota requirements, which limited access for U.S. grain exports.

Farm groups say this is a positive ruling for American farmers that will help them compete more fairly. China did not buy any U.S. wheat in 2018 and has not filled its requirements of 10 million metric tons for all grains, since joining the WTO in 2001. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates if that had been fulfilled, China would have imported up to $3.5 billion of corn, wheat and rice in 2015 alone.

Jimmie Musick, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, says the ruling will help level the playing field for American farmers in the international marketplace. "I think it will help our exports and get us on a level playing field that we haven't been in for a long time and we're looking forward to all those trade issues going away and us getting back to what we do best and grow wheat and export it," Musick says.

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp says for corn alone the tariff rate quota specified is 7.2 million metric tons. "China wants good trading opportunities as we all do, but is not necessarily living up to the good relationship when it comes to playing by the rules," he says.

The case was lodged in late 2016, and marks the second U.S. trade victory in 2019. In March, the WTO ruled China's price supports for grain violated trade rules.

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China is expected to appeal the decision to the WTO appellate body. However, National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule says the ruling puts the U.S. in a good position. "I do know having spoken to the U.S. trade representative, this case has helped them in leveraging the current trade discussions they are currently having with China," he says.

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