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USTR Seeks WTO Consultations Over India Rice, Wheat Subsidies

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and trade officials from five other countries seek consultations with India over its subsidies for rice and wheat. Dave Salmonsen, American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Government Affairs Director, says the subsidies allow India to sell products at lower than world-market value.

Salmonsen; “India’s subsidies have, over the last many years, encouraged constant surpluses that India then sells out to the rest of the world at lower than world market prices. And so, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative is again bringing this concern, and in accordance and along with several other countries to the World Trade Organization to try and get it resolved.”

The issue, Salmonsen says, is India is supporting its rice and wheat production above allowed levels. “Sometimes up to 80 percent of the total value of production for rice and over 60 percent of the total value of production for wheat, that is what the U.S. is saying. Now, India, they acknowledged they had exceeded their subsidy limits, they say up to 15 percent of the total value of production, when their limit is set at 10 percent.”

The U.S. is going through the required process, alleging India is not revealing the actual levels of subsidies and asking for consultations with the country.

Salmonsen; “So, this raises the level of the discussions within the World Trade Organization, brings several countries that are also concerned about that involved through a process that is established at the WTO. Of course, the ultimate goal is to get India to conform their programs with their agreements at the WTO.”


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