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U.S. advances rice case against Turkey
U.S. advances rice case against Turkey Monday, February 6, 2006, 2:56 PM

by Josh St. Peters

Trade Representative Rob Portman is asking the World Trade Organization to take the next step in opening the Turkish market to U.S. rice producers. On Monday, Portman requested that a dispute settlement panel be established to rule on the quotas that Turkey places on American rice.

"This case is about giving U.S. farmers fair access to Turkey's market. American rice farmers are being denied access to Turkey's rice market because of Turkey's unfair import restrictions," said Ambassador Portman. "Over the past three years, including most recently in WTO dispute settlement consultations, we've tried to resolve this issue without resorting to litigation. Unfortunately, our serious concerns have not been addressed and we must move forward to seek the establishment of a WTO panel.”

Portman said that he hoped negotiations could ultimately settle the case and level the playing field for U.S. rice growers.

Turkey imposes tariff-rate quotas on rice, forcing importers to buy a specific amount of domestic rice each time they bring product into the country from foreign sources. At some points in the year, as during the Turkish rice harvest, imports of the commodity are completely shutoff.

The United States requested consultations with Turkey on this matter on November 2, 2005, but those consultations have not resolved the dispute. With 70 million potential consumers, Turkey's domestic rice market is forecast to be worth more than $200 million in 2006.

"American farmers have world-class products, and they are willing and eager to compete in the global marketplace," said Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns. "This Administration is committed to opening markets around the world and to fighting aggressively to enforce our trade agreements and see that American farmers are treated fairly."
MGR Archive 8.2.2006
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
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