GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States won a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on Thursday against China’s use of tariff-rate quotas for imported rice, wheat and corn, which it successfully argued limited market access for U.S. grain exports.
The case, lodged by the Obama administration in late 2016, marked the second U.S. victory in as many months. It came amid U.S.-China trade talks and on the heels of Washington clinching a WTO ruling on China’s price support for grains in March.
A WTO dispute panel ruled on Thursday that under the terms of its 2001 WTO accession, China’s administration of the tariff rate quotas (TRQs) as a whole violated its obligation to administer them on a “transparent, predictable and fair basis”.
TRQs are two-level tariffs, with a limited volume of imports allowed at the lower ‘in-quota’ tariff and subsequent imports charged an “out-of-quota” tariff, which is usually much higher.
However the United States had not proven all of its case, failing to show that China had violated its public notice obligation under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in respect to TRQs, the panel said.
Either side can appeal the ruling within 60 days.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Michael Shields)