| WASHINGTON, Sept 13
WASHINGTON, Sept 13 The United States on Tuesday
launched a challenge to China's price supports for domestic
production of rice, wheat and corn at the World Trade
Organization, charging that these far exceed limits that China
committed to when it joined the WTO in 2001.
The U.S. Trade Representative's office said China's "market
price support" for these grains was estimated to be nearly $100
billion above the WTO limits and constitutes an artificial
government incentive for Chinese farmers to increase output.
"These programs distort Chinese prices, undercut American
farmers, and clearly break the limits China committed to when
they joined the WTO," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman
said in a statement. "We will not stand by when our trading
partners fail to follow the rules like everyone else."
The action marks the Obama administration's 23rd trade
enforcement challenge lodged with the WTO since 2009, and the
14th against China.
In a statement, President Barack Obama said the
administration has "won every case that's been decided" by the
"We're confident the case we're bringing today will be no
different: it should bring an end to China's illegal subsidies,
remove significant barriers on American exports, and level the
playing field for American farmers and their families who rely
on the rice, wheat, and corn industries and the hundreds of
thousands of jobs they help support," Obama said.
In May, the administration sought a WTO dispute settlement
panel to rule on its claims that China is unfairly continuing
anti-dumping duties on U.S. broiler chicken products. That
dispute is continuing, however, and China's commerce ministry
announced on Aug. 22 that it would extend the duties on U.S.
broiler chickens for another five years.
Obama added that passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
trade deal was needed to raise trading standards for an evolving
global economy and warned that China was negotiating its own
Asia trade deal.
"Unless we act now to set our own high standards, the
fast-growing Asia-Pacific will be forced to play by
lower-standard rules that we didn't set. We can't let that
happen," Obama said.
The USTR's office said that according to its analysis,
China's domestic price supports for wheat, Indica rice, Japonica
rice and corn have exceeded the 8.5 percent "de minimis" level
allowed under the WTO commitment for every year since 2012.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that U.S.
agricultural exports to China, now more than $20 billion a year,
could be larger if these supports were not in place.
(Reporting by David Lawder)