- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Obama administration filed a challenge against China Tuesday at the World Trade Organization, accusing Beijing of breaking trade rules on its price supports for domestic production of rice, wheat and corn.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said China’s “market price support” for the grains is nearly $100 billion above the WTO limits, and amounts to an artificial incentive for Chinese farmers to increase output.

It’s the 14th complaint brought against China by the Obama administration at the WTO. Mr. Obama said the U.S. has won all the cases that have been decided; at least five have yet to be resolved. Republican nominee Donald Trump has criticized President Obama for being soft on China on trade.

Mr. Obama said the action at the WTO “should bring an end to China’s illegal subsidies, remove significant barriers on American exports, and level the playing field for American farmers and their families who rely on the rice, wheat and corn industries and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they help support.”

The president said the case also illustrates the need for Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade deal with 11 other Pacific rim nations, excluding China.

“It’s all the more important that we finalize TPP soon because as we speak China is negotiating a trade deal of its own— one that would carve up the growing Asia-Pacific markets at our expense, risking American jobs, businesses, and goods,” Mr. Obama said. “Unless we act now to set our own high standards, the fast-growing Asia-Pacific will be forced to play by lower-standard rules that we didn’t set. We can’t let that happen.”

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the complaint at the WTO alleges that the subsidies “distort Chinese prices, undercut American farmers and clearly break the limits China committed to when they joined the WTO.”

“We will not stand by when our trading partners fail to follow the rules like everyone else,” he said.

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