Rice and Wheat: U.S. Asserts First Ever WTO Claim Against India’s Price Support

    Rice harvest. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    On May 4, 2018, the United States submitted a counter notification in the WTO Committee on Agriculture on India’s market price support for wheat and rice – based on publicly available information. This is the first ever COA notification under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture regarding another country’s measures.  

    Based on U.S. calculations, it appears that India has substantially underreported its market price support for wheat and rice. When calculated according to WTO Agreement on Agriculture methodology, India’s market price support for wheat and rice far exceeded its allowable levels of trade distorting domestic support. The United States has identified several areas of potential concern with India’s notification of its market price support for rice and wheat. These include issues with:

    • the quantity of production used in market price support calculations,
    • the exclusion of state-level bonuses from calculations of applied administered prices,
    • exclusion from India’s notifications of information on the total value of production (VoP) of wheat and rice (information necessary to assess compliance with WTO commitments), and
    • issues with currency conversions.

    “The United States expects our trading partners to comply with the reporting requirements they agreed to when joining the WTO,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “Accurate reporting and improved transparency of these programs is an important step in ensuring that our trading partners are living up to their WTO commitments and helps achieve more market-based outcomes through the multilateral trading system.”

    The United States expects a robust discussion on how India implements and notifies its policies at the next COA meeting, which is scheduled for June 2018.

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