China is a big ag exporter as well as importer
In the past two decades, China has shifted from a net exporter of agricultural products, with a trade surplus of $2.3 billion, to the world's largest importer, with a trade deficit of $100 billion, according to a review of Chinese membership in the World Trade Organization. The flood of imports obscures China's position as the fourth largest ag exporter in the world, trailing the European Union, the United States and Brazil.
Looking beneath the surface, USDA paper gauges pandemic’s impact
Global trade in food and agricultural products grew by 3.5 percent last year, according to the WTO, leading to descriptions that the sector was robust and resilient in the face of the worst pandemic in a century. However, a USDA working paper says the impact of the coronavirus was obscured by such factors as the de-escalation of the Sino-U.S. trade war.
U.S. suspends trade engagement with Burma in wake of coup
Two months after the military coup in Burma, the Biden administration announced a cutoff of trade engagement with Rangoon “until the return of a democratically elected government.” The U.S. trade representative’s office (USTR) also said on Monday it would consider, as part of congressional …
WTO chooses first woman and African as director general
With a Trump administration objection out of the way, the WTO members selected Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian, as its director general effective March 1. She will take office at a time of challenge for the organization; the world has lost confidence in mulilateral trade agreements as a path to …
Tariff-rate quotas are more likely to stay than be negotiated away
The Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, concluded in 1994, created tariff-rate quotas for agriculture with the expectation that they would be a stepping stone to freer trade. Instead, most of those TRQs are still in place and new WTO members have added 43 more, says a report by three USDA researchers.
WTO membership is essential, say farm and agribusiness groups
The WTO may need reform, but there is no question the United States should be part of the international body, said five dozen farm and agribusiness groups in a letter to the Trump administration. "As long as exports are important to U.S. agriculture, WTO membership will be essential as well," said the groups.
Voluntary, not mandatory, meat-origin labels, says Perdue
Despite interest among cattle activists, a return to mandatory country-of-origin labels on beef "is not going to happen unless we want to do a billion-dollar litigation damage with Mexico and Canada," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.
Trump tariff payments may bring WTO woes, says think tank
The United States could tarnish its leadership for fair trade in agriculture because of its multibillion-dollar trade-war payments to farmers, said a report issued by the free market American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday. Author Joe Glauber, former USDA chief economist, said the Market …
Sino-U.S. trade war could last until late 2020, says Trump
President Trump was ambivalent about this week's trade talks with China, saying "I don't know if they're going to make a deal," even as China hinted at goodwill purchases of U.S. farm exports. Meanwhile, the White House said China, the second-largest economy in the world, ought to shed its status at the WTO as a developing nation and to play by the same rules as the United States and other industrial nations.
U.S. wins again at WTO, though compliance by China may be months away
The WTO ruled in favor of the United States in its complaint that China had rigged its tariff system to constrict entry of foreign-grown grain. The ruling was the second U.S. victory in seven weeks against trade-distorting Chinese agricultural practices.
On trade: Long-term gain or long-term pain?
The Trump administration says its policy of confrontation with trading partners, such as the trade war with China and tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, will lead to more advantageous relations for the United States. But Bill Reinsch, of the think tank Center for Strategic and International Relations, says the promise of "short-term pain, long-term gain" is unlikely to come true.
WTO rules China gave its growers unfair wheat and rice subsidies
The Trump administration, with the weight of a WTO ruling behind it, called on China on Thursday to eliminate trade-distorting wheat and rice subsidies that cost U.S. farmers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in export sales. The WTO panel report may provide impetus to negotiations to resolve the Sino-U.S. trade war.
U.S. farm group would support supply management in NAFTA
Agriculture amounts to a small part of NAFTA trade volume but it is a major sticking point for U.S. and Canadian negotiators who are scheduled to resume negotiations on the new NAFTA on Wednesday. The second-largest U.S. farm group said the White House ought to adopt the dairy supply management system that it reportedly is trying to eliminate in Canada and reinstate country-of-origin labeling on beef.
In novel filing, U.S. says India grossly over-subsidizes wheat and rice production
It is clear that India violates WTO limits on trade-distorting farm subsidies, said the Trump administration on Wednesday in announcing a “counter-notification” that could be the first step to a formal challenge of India’s wheat and rice subsidies.
In absence of federal law, states take up country of origin labeling
Several states are considering country of origin labeling (COOL) proposals, which would require that beef products be labeled as imported or domestic products. The state proposals follow several years of attempts by rancher groups to revive federal law that would require country of origin labeling for beef.
New cotton subsidies in 2018 farm bill could be costly, says think tank
Cotton growers are pushing for the second overhaul of USDA subsidies in four years and the results could be expensive to taxpayers and risk another trade complaint at the WTO, says the free-market American Enterprise Institute. Congress totally re-wrote the cotton program in the 2014 farm bill to resolve a WTO ruling, sought by Brazil, that over-generous U.S. subsidies distorted world trade.
U.S. complaint about Chinese ag tariffs goes to WTO panel
The United States forced the creation of a WTO dispute panel to hear its complaint that China unfairly blocks imports of U.S. corn, wheat and rice, reported Reuters. When it filed the complaint last Dec. 15, the Obama administration said U.S. farmers lost as much as $3.5 billion in sales because China, the largest customer for U.S. ag exports, used so-called tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) to favor domestic producers.
U.S. ranchers sue to bring back country-of-origin labeling of beef and pork
In late 2015, looking to avoid a threatened $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs, Congress repealed a requirement that packages of beef and pork sold in the United States say where the animals were born, raised, and slaughtered. Now an activist ranchers’ group has filed suit to reinstate the labels.
US wins WTO case over Indonesian limits on food imports
A WTO dispute panel agreed with the United States and New Zealand on all 18 points of their challenge of Indonesian trade barriers to imports of fruit, vegetables and meat. The U.S. trade representative's (USTR) office said removal of the barriers could lead to a vast increase in sales of the goods affected by the licensing rules, which totaled $87 million in 2015.