Bush urged to join grain producers worldwide to open Chinese market
The Washington-based National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) has urged the Bush administration to lead a global initiative to open the international grain market in China.
According to the NGFA, during the past 19 months the Chinese government has imposed a series of phytosanitary measures that have essentially kept overseas soybean shipments out of China. The association said these rules are out of line with China’s commitments for membership in the World Trade Organization.
“Achieving aggressive, broad-based agricultural trade liberalization is vitally important to the future well-being of U.S. agriculture,” said the NGFA in an Aug. 16 letter to the U.S. trade representative. “But it is equally essential to hold countries like China accountable for their existing WTO commitments, specifically to base trade on non-discriminatory, science-based rules.”
The NGFA said China has “rejected the sanctity of international grain sampling and inspection procedures at origin, as well as commercial contract terms.'
“Additional Chinese actions have taken the form of blacklisting firms from trading with that country,” it added.
The NGFA supports a pan-American initiative started in July with two other U.S.-based grain groups, the North American Export Grain Association and National Oilseed Processors Association, as well as their four sister organizations in Argentina and Brazil. These groups have banded together to urge the three governments to work together to eliminate trade restrictions in China.
“We believe now is the time for the Bush administration to capitalize on the momentum generated by the successful completion of the WTO framework on future agricultural trade negotiations by making a determined, focused effort to resolve the single biggest existing impediment to agricultural trade — the unjustified, unilateral actions by China that clearly violates its WTO commitments,” the NGFA said.