WTO rules in favor of US in China farm subsidies dispute

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Thursday ruled in favor of the U.S. in a long-running dispute over Chinese subsidies for wheat and rice farms, according to multiple reports.

Reuters and The Associated Press report that the WTO ruled that China exceeded internationally agreed-upon standards for domestic support of rice and wheat farmers, allowing Chinese farmers to artificially deflate prices of wheat and rice around the globe.

U.S. officials hailed the decision as a major victory for the Trump administration, though China can appeal the decision.

{mosads}“China’s excessive support limits opportunities for U.S. farmers to export their world-class products to China,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer following the ruling, according to Reuters. “We expect China to quickly come into compliance with its WTO obligations.”

The original complaint, filed by the U.S. trade office in 2016, accused China’s government of exceeding standards for domestic support of wheat and rice farms by as much as $100 billion, while China reportedly argued that only grains purchased by the government should be counted toward the WTO limits.

China is allowed under WTO membership to offset production value of rice and grain with subsidies of up to 8.5 percent of the goods’ total production values, according to Reuters.

U.S. and Chinese officials have said they are in the final stages of hammering out a trade agreement to deal with a number of concerns the Trump administration has raised, including alleged theft of U.S. technology and China’s policy of forcing U.S. companies to give up trade secrets in order to do business in the country.

Lighthizer warned this week, however, that one agreement would be insufficient to deal with the scope of issues separating the U.S. and China on trade policy.

“We might be able to have an agreement that helps us turn the corner in our economic relationship with China,” Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee, adding that “there’s not going to be one negotiation” that completely solves the issue.

“I believe other problems are going to arise and they’ll have to be dealt with,” Lighthizer said.

Tags China Robert Lighthizer trade dispute World Trade Organization
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