FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara Robertson (Sara.Robertson2@mail.house.gov)
Rep. Crawford Urges U.S. to Hold India Accountable on Trade
Washington – U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Tracey Mann (KS-01), along with 26 of their colleagues sent a letter to the Biden Administration urging them to hold India accountable under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, particularly regarding wheat and rice production.
“The biggest challenge to both domestic and export sales are related to U.S. competitiveness,” the Members write. “American commodity producers are operating at a clear disadvantage to their competitors, primarily from India, where the government is subsidizing more than half of the value of production for rice and wheat, instead of the ten percent allowable under WTO rules.”
The letter encourages United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to initiate the WTO litigation process.
“WTO rules were established in order to allow for a level playing field in which American producers could compete. It is the job of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to uphold these rules and protect our producers from rulebreakers like India,” said Rep. Crawford.
“Trade distorting domestic support has always been a major challenge for farmers, and WTO rules were created to limit these practices,” said Rep. Mann. “Ensuring all parties are cooperating under the same guidelines is paramount to international trade. My colleagues and I are calling on U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to uphold their duty to our American farmers and ranchers to protect our domestic markets – it is time to level the playing field.”
Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and 17 of his Senate colleagues sent a similar letter. The effort is supported by the National Association of Wheat Growers and USA Rice.
“Wheat and rice farmers rely on open markets and fair trade to facilitate trade, which plays a vital role in supporting our growers and jobs in rural America. NAWG appreciates U.S. Representative Tracey Mann for signing on to the letter outlining the importance of open markets,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “It is important that as a WTO member, India adhere to international commitments and not continue to create unfair advantages for its domestic production and distort world trade. We appreciate the Representatives for bringing the issue to the attention of the Administration and will continue to work with the USDA and USTR in enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. wheat in the world.”
“This significant showing of bicameral support for the Administration to initiate a WTO case against India has been years in the making,” said Betsy Ward, President & CEO of USA Rice. “If left unchecked, the Indian export market will continue to grow at an uncontrollable rate and threaten the viability of rice and wheat producers throughout the world.”
“For too long, Indian government policies have cost U.S. wheat money and export opportunities. Those Indian policies cost U.S. wheat farmers more than $500 million annually,”said Justin Knopf, President of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. “With India poised for near-record exports, time is of the utmost importance. We encourage the USTR to use the WTO to hold India accountable to their past commitments.”
Click here to view the full text of the letter.