The second of two cases filed against China by the United States in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) legal system advanced this week and USA Rice COO Bob Cummings met with attorneys from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative arguing the case as well as key country delegations to the WTO. Cummings was joined by representatives from U.S. Wheat Associates, and the U.S. Grains Council.
“The WTO dispute settlement process is long, and the U.S. complaint about the way China administers import quotas for corn, wheat, and rice had its second panel hearing this week where both sides answered questions from the WTO officials hearing the case. The panel should issue its findings and report in mid-2019,” said Cummings.
“The case of more direct interest to rice – the U.S. complaint about China’s producer subsidies for rice and other grains – should be decided and announced in late 2018/early 2019.”
While pressing the two China cases, the Trump Administration has been highly critical of the WTO for lack of results and for deficiencies in the appellate process of the WTO’s dispute settlement body (DSB).
“To show its displeasure, the U.S. has held up the appointment of judges to the DSB and this could be a real problem for us. Assuming we win both China cases, there may be insufficient judges on the appellate body to hear China’s likely appeals. We need a solution and a functioning WTO to reap the benefits of an organization that’s been a clear win for U.S. rice and agriculture, and we reviewed discussions among WTO members in Geneva to address U.S. concerns,” concluded Cummings.