THE US on Thursday launched a challenge to China's use of tariff-rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn at the World Trade Organization, charging that Beijing's administration of the program breached its WTO commitments and hurt US farm exports. more…

THE US on Thursday launched a challenge to China’s use of tariff-rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn at the World Trade Organization, charging that Beijing’s administration of the program breached its WTO commitments and hurt US farm exports.

The USTR said global prices for the three commodities were lower than China’s domestic prices, yet the country did not maximise its use of TRQs, which offer lower duties on a certain volume of imported grains every year.

The USTR said that limited market access for shipments from the US, the world’s largest grain exporter, and other countries.

The TRQs for the three commodities were worth more than $US7 billion ($F14b) in 2015, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

China would have imported up to $US3.5b ($F7b) more of the crops last year if the quotas had been fully used, the Office of the US Trade Representative said on Thursday.

“The US will aggressively pursue this challenge on behalf of American rice, wheat, and corn farmers,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement.

It was the second challenge to China’s agricultural policies by the US Trade Representative since September and the latest in a series of trade disputes between the world’s largest economies.

China on Monday launched a complaint at the WTO against the US and Europe after they failed to treat China as a market economy and ease their calculations of anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods.

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