KANSAS CITY — The National Association of Wheat Growers on Jan. 13 said it supports a letter crafted by 28 members of the US House of Representatives pushing for a World Trade Organization case against India’s domestic price support for wheat and rice production. 

The letter was addressed to US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai. It echoed a parallel letter signed last month by 18 US Senators led by Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

The Jan. 13 letter from the House states: “Trade distorting domestic support has always been a major challenge for farmers, and WTO rules were created to limit these practices.  For the most part, the system has been successful, but there are repeat offenders, like China and India, where enforcement is necessary.  Your teams have continually pressed India at the WTO to reform its price support program, but to no avail.”

The United States previously has highlighted India’s non-compliance through counter-notifications at the WTO Committee on Agriculture, NAWG said. 

In a Jan. 13 news release, Chandler Goule, chief executive officer of NAWG, thanked the Kansas and Arkansas representatives who spearheaded the latest letter. 

“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,” he said. “NAWG appreciates US Representative Tracey Mann and Rick Crawford for leading these efforts outlining the importance of open markets.

“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 US wheat in the world.” MBN