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AFB Says WTO Needed to Rule Against China Ag Tariffs, Even if Beijing Continues Them

An American Farm Bureau official says even if it is tough getting China to comply with a WTO ruling against its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports five years ago, it was the right decision.

AFBF Trade Advisor Dave Salmonson says whether or not China complies, it’s important the WTO uphold world trade rules against Beijing’s tariff retaliation for national-security-based U.S. metals tariffs. “Course, we know, with the condition of the appellate process at the WTO, means that without a functioning appellate body, it will be difficult, at least a direct manner, to get that enforced. But it has the weight of the world body behind telling China, they really have no basis for continuing these tariffs,” according to Salmonson.

And some of those tariffs remain; “Almonds, pork, dairy, things like that, so they still have tariffs, and they range, some of them are ten percent, some of them are 20 percent—they’re on the books. Now, some of them are being enforced, some of them aren’t, kind of all depends on what China needs.”

Corn, soybeans and pork among them.

But Salmonson suggests, tariffs that are enforced need to be worked out bilaterally, implying outside the WTO. Still, China remains a core U.S. ag market. “We’re about 36 billion last year, the highest ever, and of course, we’ll see where that goes this year, but trade, agricultural trade with China still remains very, very strong—still our number one market.”

Despite, U.S.-China differences, Salmonson says countries sometimes “compartmentalize” issues—when they need products, they need them, especially Ag products.

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