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​​​​​​​China and WTO compliance​​​​​​​China and WTO compliance

Legislative Watch: China's approach to U.S. pork inconsistent; opposition to Sanderson Farms, Wayne Farms merger.

P. Scott Shearer

February 25, 2022

3 Min Read
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The Office of the United States Trade Representative released its annual report to Congress on China's World Trade Organization compliance. Despite being a member of the WTO for 20 years, China has not lived up to the commitments it made when joining the WTO. It has failed to embrace market-oriented principles of the WTO.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, "China has not moved to embrace the market-oriented principles on which the WTO and its rules are based, despite the representations that it made when it joined 20 years ago. China has instead retained and expanded its state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade."

The report describes its concerns regarding non-tariff measures, intellectual property, agriculture, services and transparency. 

The report strongly states its concerns about China being a "difficult and unpredictable" market for U.S. agriculture due to inconsistent enforcement of regulations and "selective intervention" in the market by China’s regulatory authorities. The report states, "The inability or unwillingness of China's regulators to routinely follow science based, international standards and guidelines and to apply regulatory enforcement in a transparent and 2021 USTR Report to Congress on China's WTO Compliance 52 rules-based manner further complicates and impedes agricultural trade."

However, the report says China has made advanced through the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade agreement by addressing a number of non-tariff barriers to agricultural trade and made "reforms in some agricultural sub-sectors, including meat and poultry products and facility registration." However, China has failed to take meaningful action on a required risk assessment for the use of ractopamine in beef and pork productions. 

Regarding pork, the report said, "China maintains an approach to U.S. pork that is inconsistent with international standards, limiting the potential of an important export market given China's growing meat consumption and major shortages of domestic pork due to African swine fever. Specifically, China bans the use of certain veterinary drugs and growth promotants instead of accepting the MRLs set by Codex."

Members oppose merger of Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms
A group of U.S. Senators and Representatives opposed to the merger of Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms are calling on the Department of Justice to thoroughly review the proposed merger and step in to prevent harm to producers and consumers.  The members in a letter urged DOJ to scrutinize the proposed Sanderson-Wayne transaction to "determine whether it violates the antitrust laws, and the DOJ should oppose the merger if it does."

The members reminded DOJ that Sanderson Farms is the third largest poultry processor and Wayne Farms is the sixth largest.

The members said, "This proposed mega merger raises significant antitrust concerns in an industry already marked by price fixing, labor violations and intense consolidation. In particular, this mega merger could increase the major poultry companies' monopoly and monopsony power, allowing them to raise prices for consumers while cutting pay for farmers and other poultry-industry workers. Given these concerns, we urge the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a thorough review of the proposed Sanderson-Wayne deal to ensure that it does not harm American farmers and consumers."

Those signing the letter were Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Representatives Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Katie Porter (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), David Cicilline (RI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Judy Chu (D-CA).

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.


About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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