U.S. Urges WTO Action on Grain Support

September 15, 2016 11:27 AM

The United States is urging the World Trade Organization to clamp down on what it considers unfair supports for farmers by the Chinese government. Officials say this move is harmful to U.S. farmers. 

The U.S. Trade Representatives Office is accusing China of price supports for rice, wheat, and corn—unfairly undercutting prices that the U.S. would get for the same grains.

The U.S. launched a challenge at the WTO, saying those supports “far exceeded” the limits that China agreed to when it joined in 2001.

The U.S. Trade Reps says this is an artificial government incentive for Chinese farmers to increase output.

This is a major sticking point for rice producers in Arkansas who say price supports give some of these countries an just edge when it comes to trade. 

“All we’re looking for is a fair deal” said Johnny Sullivan of Producers Rice Mill. “We just want to level the playing field on both sides of the table. Put us in the game, Coach. Put us in the field, give us the same equipment, we’ll win—there’s no doubt in my mind. We can’t be a junior high team going up against the NFL.”

China doesn’t import any rice from the U.S. According to Sullivan, based on Chinese consumption rates, if the country would start importing U.S. Rice, they could eat through the domestic crop in 14 days. 

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