Market News & Headlines >> U.S. Wins WTO Ruling on China Grain Import Quotas

The United States has won a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against China's use of tariff-rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn, which it successfully argued limited market access for U.S. grain exports. 

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". The administration of state trading enterprises and non-state enterprises' portions of TRQs are inconsistent with WTO rules, the panel said. 

The case, lodged by the Obama administration in late 2016, marked the second U.S. victory in as many months, coming on the heels of a March WTO ruling on China’s price supports for grains. 

U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue welcomed the WTO decision, as it is expected to allow U.S. farmers to sell more grain to China. USDA estimates that if China's TRQs had been fully used, $3.5 billion worth of corn, wheat and rice would have been imported in 2015 alone. 

China has promised to manage grain import tariff quotas within WTO rules after losing the trade dispute case brought by the U.S., the South China Morning Post reported on Friday. China’s Ministry of Commerce said it regretted the ruling and would "seriously study" the decision, the SCMP reported.