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ARLINGTON, Virginia — A significant impediment to U.S. wheat sales to the large Brazilian market is likely to end soon. Brazil’s government has announced it intends to implement a tariff rate quota (TRQ) allowing up to 750,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat to be imported duty-free from countries outside the Mercosur trade agreement.

Brazil first agreed to this TRQ some 24 years ago when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Brazilian government is now moving forward with developing a final process and date for implementing the TRQ.

Through U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the U.S. government, wheat farmers have worked and negotiated for several years with Brazil’s government to open the TRQ and create a more open market there for U.S. hard red winter (HRW) and soft red winter (SRW) wheat.

“Brazil is a quality-focused wheat market and its flour millers recognize that U.S. wheat can help them better meet their customers’ needs,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Opening the TRQ will give those millers more consistent access to our wheat classes while still having the option to source from other countries. That is how the market should work and we welcome this opportunity.”

“This is a perfect example of how fulfilling commitments can work for all trading partners,” said Doug Goyings, USW Chairman and a wheat farmer from Paulding, Ohio. “We want to recognize Ambassador Gregg Doud, our Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, as well as the career staff of USDA and USTR for their focus on this issue. They have raised it multiple times with their counterparts in Brazil.”

Brazil is the fourth largest wheat importer in the world but Argentina and other countries in the Mercosur agreement have had a competitive advantage with mostly unlimited duty-free access to the market. Wheat imports from countries outside the Mercosur agreement including the United States are subject to a 10 percent tariff. However, USW has always conducted activities in Brazil to keep its millers and bakers informed about the quality and value of U.S. wheat. As a result, when Brazil opened provisional TRQs in 2008, 2013 and 2014 because its Mercosur partners had wheat supply challenges, U.S. HRW and SRW made up more than 80 percent of imports.

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USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of wheat for U.S. producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the ruling today by a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute panel that China’s government does not fairly administer its annual tariff rate quotas (TRQ) for imports of corn, rice and 9.64 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat. This decision follows a seperate ruling in late February that determined China provides excessive domestic price supports in excess of its WTO commitments. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) brought these disputes to the WTO in 2016, armed with clear evidence that China’s policies distort world trade of those commodities and create an unfair advantage for domestic production.

“With these decisions, we call on the Chinese government to come into compliance with the rules it accepted when it joined the WTO,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “The world now sees that their policies stifle market-driven wheat trade, block export opportunities and force private sector buyers and consumers to pay more than they should for milling wheat and wheat-based foods. We appreciate that the Trump Administration continues to shine a light on these distorting policies by supporting the WTO dispute cases.”

“NAWG applauds the Administration for pressing the WTO to enforce trade rules that ensure fair trade for U.S. wheat growers,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Further, we appreciate the work done by those Members of Congress who continued to press on this issue and move the process forward.”

China’s wheat TRQ was established in its WTO membership agreement in 2001. Under that agreement, China may initially allocate 90 percent of the TRQ to government buyers, or state trading enterprises (STEs), with only 10 percent reserved for private sector importers. The private sector typically imports its full portion due to growing demand for flour from different wheat classes with better milling and baking characteristics than domestically produced wheat provides.

However, China’s notifications to the WTO on TRQ usage show an average fill rate of just 25%. The WTO does not require that TRQs fill every year, but it has established rules regarding transparency and administration that are intended to facilitate the use of TRQs.

Considering that China’s domestic wheat prices are significantly more than the landed cost of U.S. wheat imported from the Pacific Northwest, Peterson said the TRQ should be fully used if the system were operating fairly, transparently and predictably as the rules intend.

The facts also argue against potential claims that enforcing the TRQ agreement would threaten China’s food security. China produces more wheat each year than any other single country and currently holds about 50 percent of the world’s abundant wheat supplies. If China met its 9.64 MMT wheat TRQ, its farmers would still produce 90 percent of domestically consumed wheat. Opening the wheat TRQ would also allow private sector millers and food producers to import more of the types of wheat they need, but cannot now obtain, and the benefits would be passed on to China’s consumers.

“Once China meets its obligations under the WTO and the temporary retaliatory tariffs are removed, wheat farmers from the United States and other countries can compete fairly for sales to this growing market,” Peterson said.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit the USW website at www.uswheat.org.

NAWG is a federation of 22 state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, DC, NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, agricultural research and sustainability.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) welcomes the ruling today by a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute panel that Chinese government payments to farmers for wheat exceed China’s aggregate measure of support (AMS) commitments and significantly distort global wheat trade. The panel was formed after the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) challenged China’s domestic agricultural support programs for wheat, corn and rice through the WTO dispute settlement process in September 2016.  

“We are very pleased that the Trump Administration has continued to support this dispute and a second case that challenges China’s administration of the 9.6 million metric ton (MMT) tariff rate quota (TRQ) on imported wheat that its government agreed to when it joined the WTO,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “U.S. farmers have been hurt by China’s overproduction and protectionist measures for too long and it’s past time for China to start living up to its commitments.”

USW President Vince Peterson

According to a 2016 Iowa State University study sponsored by USW, China’s domestic market support price for wheat at the time of almost $10 per bushel cost U.S. wheat farmers between $650 and $700 million annually in lost income by preventing export opportunities and suppressing global prices. As a result, the Chinese government has purchased and stored enormous stocks of domestic wheat. USDA now estimates that by June 2019, China will hold 140 million metric tons of wheat, accounting for 52 percent of global ending stocks. Not coincidentally, this hugely disproportionate stock holding is almost the same as the cumulative 130 MMT of wheat that China has not purchased under its WTO TRQ since 2001. This is a fundamental supply factor that continues to depress market prices. It also hurts Chinese flour millers who are forced to purchase over-priced, low-quality domestic wheat from these stocks, as well as their customers who pay more for the flour.

“The past two decades have been a lost opportunity for the WTO negotiating function as major countries like China have refused to take on new responsibilities,” Peterson said. “Perhaps this unfortunate situation will be the wake-up call countries need to realize that restricting trade and unfairly advantaging domestic industries in global markets winds up hurting everyone. Meanwhile, we applaud the use of the WTO dispute settlement and counter notification processes to push back when countries violate rules on agricultural support.”

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of wheat for U.S. producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – An on-going series of policies that disrupts global demand for U.S. wheat and does not comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules should disqualify Turkey for eligibility under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) testified to that effect at a hearing Sept. 26, 2018, held by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

 

The GSP program provides preferential access to the U.S. market for developing countries that meet program standards. In 2017, Turkey exported $1.7 billion in goods to the United States under GSP, making it is one of the program’s largest beneficiaries. However, the law authorizing GSP requires beneficiary countries to refrain from engaging in unreasonable export practices. U.S. Wheat Associates believes that Turkey’s inward processing system for wheat and flour functions as an unreasonable export practice.

 

“Farmers have been complaining about Turkish flour for the better part of a decade due to the displacement of U.S. wheat in critical markets,” said USW Vice President of Policy Ben Conner, who represented USW at the hearing. “The fundamental problems are Turkey’s excessive domestic support and high tariffs combined with an inward processing regime that does not meet World Trade Organization standards.”

 

Turkey is the world’s largest flour exporter and in 2017 was the ninth largest exporter of wheat and wheat equivalents. Turkish flour not only displaces U.S. wheat in overseas markets but also harms U.S. wheat customers in local flour milling industries. One of USW’s top policy priorities is to see Turkey bring its wheat policy regime in line with its WTO commitments.

 

To read the full USW submission to USTR, click here.

 

USW’s mission is to develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

 

 

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — In response to a U.S. Department of Commerce Section 232 investigation into auto and auto parts imports, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) once again expressed concern about using questionable national security arguments as a basis for import restrictions and the potential for retaliation from trading partners.

In comments on the investigation submitted June 22, 2018, USW strongly encouraged the Commerce Department to “stick to serious national security concerns when using Section 232 and avoid making this process even more ridiculous than it has become after the steel and aluminum investigations.”

Before any restrictions on auto and parts imports are taken under Section 232, USW said Commerce “should consider the fallout if other countries follow suit and impose restrictions on U.S. wheat or other products as a result of their own national security concerns, whether real or imagined.”

As a representative of U.S. wheat farm families who rely on export demand to boost their income potential, USW was among the first agricultural organizations to publicly oppose the use of Section 232 to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Farmers have already been hit hard by tariffs on hundreds of food and agricultural products in retaliation for recent unilateral trade actions and much more is expected soon.

While the reactions of countries to U.S. steel and aluminum protectionism has been negative for farmers, USW said the case of automobiles is much more dangerous because the dollar figures are so much larger.

“Automotive imports in 2017 were about ten times larger than steel imports and much of this came from significant wheat importers like Mexico, Japan, South Korea and the European Union,” USW said in its comments. “The chances that U.S. wheat farmers will face retaliation increases substantially if the final measures reflect the scope of the investigation.”

USW also argues that invalid use of the national security exemption created in Section 232 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade undermines effective global trading rules.

“Whatever surface level plausibility existed for justifying restriction on steel and aluminum imports is entirely absent when it comes to automobiles,” USW stated. “The breathtaking leap of logic required to recommend tariffs on imported automobiles and parts due to their threats to national security suggest that the only plausible reasons for this action are either economic protectionism in violation of our WTO commitments or a negotiating tactic. Use of this statute as a negotiating tactic is an abuse of the authority granted by Congress and economic protection is available through trade remedy laws if the need for protection meets the requirements of the relevant statutes. In either case, the Department of Commerce should find that these imports do not threaten national security.”

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Wheat harvest photo

ARLINGTON, Virginia — The familiar African proverb says that when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. Unfortunately for America’s farmers, that grass is the wheat growing in their fields as the big guys in Washington, D.C., and Beijing escalate their trade fight.

China’s state-run importing agency and private flour millers bought an average of more than 1.1 million metric tons of U.S. wheat the past five years because our farmers produce higher quality grain than China can grow on its own. Following the Trump Administration’s announcement of new tariffs on $50 billion of imported Chinese goods, China hit back with tariffs of its own, including a 25 percent tariff on U.S. wheat imports. In response, the White House is ordering trade officials to draw up a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that would be hit with 10 percent tariff on top of the 25 percent tariffs already promised. In a trade war, agriculture always gets hit first and the effects of these tariffs could prove devastating for farmers.

No one in China will be hurt if the retaliatory U.S. wheat tariff is implemented. China has huge amounts of stored wheat and they can purchase what they need from Australia, Canada or even Kazakhstan, although Chinese consumers will miss the opportunity to experience higher quality products made from U.S. wheat. Instead, the outcome is likely to further erode the incomes of farm families who strongly support addressing the real concerns about China’s trade policies.

According to the USDA, net cash wheat farm income is projected to be down more than 21 percent this year compared to last. U.S. wheat growers are not in the business of ceding a market like China that wants to buy their crop and could buy so much more of it. That is why in 2016, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) called for World Trade Organization (WTO) cases intended to push China to meet its WTO commitments on domestic support and tariff rate quota management. We are happy that the Trump Administration supports and is pursuing those cases.

USW and NAWG know that farmers still want our organizations to keep fighting for fair opportunities to compete in China and other countries. They would prefer, however, to see our government do that first within the processes already in place.

Instead, the Administration is doubling down on a tactical policy that makes an already risky business of agriculture even more volatile. Policies like the ones being proposed will only make times harder for farmers, and the Administration’s vague promises of protection for the farmers we represent offers little consolation.

Our country’s continuing agricultural trade surplus is proof that America’s farmers can compete successfully in the world based on the quality and value of what they produce, given the freedom to do so.

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About U.S. Wheat Associates
USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

About NAWG
NAWG is the primary representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at state and national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members and the public.

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — This week, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) formally questioned data India has reported to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about its market price support programs for wheat and rice from marketing years 2010/11 to 2013/14. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) consider this counternotification (CN) to the WTO Committee on Agriculture as an appropriate and welcome step that further brings transparency to countries’ farm support programs.

“We want to thank USTR and USDA leadership, including Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, Secretary Sonny Perdue, Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud, and U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Dennis Shea, and the hardworking staff at USTR and USDA for using available tools to call attention to this abuse of WTO rules,” said USW Chairman Mike Miller, a wheat farmer from Ritzville, Wash. “The proactive use of WTO tools like counternotifications and dispute settlement will help build support for the global trade rules that provide a bulwark against market distorting policies that hurt American farmers.”

India’s domestic support scheme, which USTR and USDA demonstrate is vastly under-reported, creates excess capacity that prevents trade opportunities and sometimes has led to India dumping excess capacity from its massive public stocks. In 2013/14 India was the seventh largest wheat exporter in the world and consistently the largest rice exporter.

The U.S. counternotification covers India’s market price support for wheat and rice. Under its WTO commitments, India may provide subsidies equal to no more than 10 percent of the total value of crop production. In the years covered in the CN, the United States demonstrates through India’s own data that its price support appears to be the equivalent of 60 percent to 68 percent of the value of production for wheat and 74 percent to 84 percent of the value of production for rice.

“India’s large price support program has a negative effect on international markets,” said NAWG President Jimmie Musick, a wheat farmer from Sentinel, Okla. “We welcome this signal from our government that it is not going to accept obvious attempts to cheat the system by India and other countries. We thank the USTR and USDA for its creativity in challenging this policy by being the first country to use the WTO’s counternotifications rule on agricultural domestic support.”

If India does not take corrective actions to bring its programs in line with its WTO commitments, USW and NAWG hope that the United States will coordinate with other affected countries to consider putting forward a dispute settlement case, as it did with China’s domestic support and tariff rate quota policies.

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About U.S. Wheat Associates
USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

About NAWG
NAWG is the primary representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at state and national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members and the public.

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact U.S. Wheat Associates at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S. – 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are extremely disappointed in the decision announced today to impose sweeping tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. We have repeatedly warned that the risks of retaliation and the precedent set by such a policy have serious potential consequences for agriculture. It is dismaying that the voices of farmers and many other industries were ignored in favor of an industry that is already among the most protected in the country.

If the United States is taken to dispute settlement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for imposing these tariffs, we call on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to avoid invoking the essential security exception under GATT Article XXI. The recent Department of Defense memorandum made it clear that imported steel and aluminum did not threaten its ability to acquire enough from domestic suppliers to meet its needs. The USTR should not take the extraordinary step of invoking Article XXI to defend what we believe is protectionism.

At NAWG’s board of directors meeting this week, a new resolution was passed urging the Administration to avoid imposing national security-based trade barriers on commonly traded products. NAWG’s newly instated President Jimmy Musick, a wheat farmer from Sentinel, Oklahoma, said “at such an economically hard time for wheat growers, we do not want to see trade barriers brought against us from some of our top customers who are impacted by this decision.”

Wheat farmers battling a market in which China holds almost 50 percent of world ending wheat stocks can sympathize with steel and aluminum workers on the economic effects of Chinese policies leading to global oversupply. However, we hope that our legitimate concerns with this action are heard and taken into consideration in this process.

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About U.S. Wheat Associates
USW is the export marketing organization for U.S. wheat farmers. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities around the world are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

About NAWG
NAWG is the primary representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at state and national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members and the public.

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact U.S. Wheat Associates at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S. – 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) sounds an alarm today in reaction to the Department of Commerce’s announcement that it has submitted to the White House the results of its Section 232 investigation of the national security implications of steel imports. Done at the prodding of a large segment of the U.S. steel industry, the investigation and its potential results likely ignore the disastrous implications for other U.S. sectors from extreme trade protections for commonly traded steel.

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) national security exception from normal trade rules has traditionally been narrowly defined for truly exceptional products deemed necessary to maintain essential security interests. There is a good reason for this cautious approach, respected by virtually every country: common usage of it would undermine decades of carefully negotiated trade rules that foster peaceable global trade. These types of restrictions on a commonly traded product like steel blows that exception apart.

Global trade rules were pioneered by the United States after World War II precisely to avoid the types of protectionist trade policies that exacerbated tensions leading to the global conflict. Since national security exceptions are self-declared and unenforceable, the United States using that exception as a loophole could lead to a major breach in the system of global trade rules with unpredictable consequences.

Specifically, USW believes that there is no greater national security interest for a country than being able to feed its people, which is best achieved through open markets. If the United States restricts steel imports under a national security claim, some countries may use the same pretense to restrict imports of U.S. wheat and other agricultural products.

“While we don’t yet know the contents of Commerce’s recommendations to President Trump, if they’re anything like what the steel industry has proposed, we hope the President will do the right thing and reject it,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Under the pretense of asking for fair trade, the steel industry is looking for sweeping protection, and that threatens to undermine the global trade rules that have helped keep our country secure and our farmers competitive.”

The steel industry supplied about two thirds of the domestic market in 2017 and has nearly 150 existing trade remedies in place against imported steel products. Section 232 is a different type of remedy that could allow unprecedented and sweeping trade restrictions that disregard carefully negotiated WTO rules. While it may target Chinese steel in part, China did not even break the top 10 sources of U.S. steel imports in 2017.

“The domestic steel industry already has more protection in place than any other industry so there is no reason to blow up trade rules to restrict imported steel,” said USW Chairman Mike Miller, a farmer from Ritzville, Wash. “As a farmer, I know that I always have to work hard to stay competitive; if steel companies can’t do that with dozens of trade remedies already in place, maybe they should look for solutions that address the real problems instead of just restricting trade.”

To view USW’s previous statement on the Section 232 investigation, click here.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact U.S. Wheat Associates at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S.- 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and members of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), USA Rice, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and the National Barley Growers Association (NBGA) welcomed a joint statement issued this week from 17 countries participating in the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, emphasizing the importance of supporting farmer access to the full range of tools and technologies available and opposing regulatory barriers lacking sufficient scientific justification.

“Having in mind the importance of transparency and predictability to international trade, we call on all Members to strengthen the implementation of the WTO SPS [Sanitary and Phytosanitary] Agreement by reinforcing the work of relevant international standards organizations and ensuring the scientific basis of SPS measures is sound,” the statement reads.

“The development and application of sound SPS measures is needed to support farmers’ choice in tools that can expand agricultural production and facilitate access to food and agricultural products, and also to safeguard human, animal and plant health.”

Government officials from Kenya, Uganda, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Canada, Colombia, Argentina, and the United States delivered remarks in favor of the joint statement of understanding on Dec. 12, 2017, during a side event to the main WTO meetings.

Representatives from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), the International Soy Growers Alliance and MAIZALL, an international maize alliance, also provided supporting comments.

The statement demonstrates global support for all farmers and the tools and innovations they need to protect their crops from devastating diseases and destructive pests while delivering safe food sustainably to the world’s consumers. The signatories take a step forward in calling out countries that undermine farmer choice through regulatory barriers that are not scientifically justified.

Recognizing the “central importance of risk analysis to assess, manage and communicate risks of concern associated with pesticide use in order to protect public health while enabling the safe use of pesticides and facilitate trade in food and ag products,” these countries remained committed to expanding knowledge and capacity for developing countries in pesticide maximum residue levels (MRLs). Ultimately, common understanding will help facilitate bilateral and multilateral efforts to assess and manage risk concerns in a more scientific, transparent and harmonized manner.

Read the full statement here.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact U.S. Wheat Associates at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S.- 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.