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WTO to Probe Turkey's Rice Import Rules
GENEVA - The World Trade Organization on Friday set up a panel to investigate U.S. allegations that Turkey is unfairly restricting imports of U.S. rice, officials said.

Washington announced it was bringing the case to the global commerce body in February after it said three months of consultations had failed to settle the dispute. The WTO requires the consultations before a settlement panel can be established.

The United States said Friday that it "has serious concerns regarding Turkey's restrictions on the importation of rice."

Turkey told the WTO's dispute settlement body it was still open to cooperation and hoped to reach a negotiated agreement.

"Our preference has always been to settle this issue between the two parties as early as possible," Turkey said, adding that it "regrets that U.S. has decided to reintroduce its request for the establishment of a panel."

U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman (news, bio, voting record)'s office said last month the case had to be brought to the 149-member WTO because Turkey's rice imports are restricted by tariff-rate quotas that permit the lower tariff levels only if Turkish importers also buy significant quantities of domestic rice.

"These measures, which have restricted the import of rice to Turkey from the United States and many other (WTO) members, appear to be inconsistent with several provisions of the WTO agreements," the U.S. told the dispute settlement body.

The U.S. said, however, that it would continue discussions alongside WTO litigation to reach "a mutually agreed solution."

The administration estimates that Turkey's domestic rice market could be worth more than $200 million this year. Portman said the United States had tried for three years to settle the problem but failed.
MGR Archive 19.3.2006
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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