[WTO Case Review Series No.34] China – Tariff Rate Quotas for Certain Agricultural Products (WT/DS517): The Interpretation of the Report of the Working Party on the Accession of China, and the Relationship between this Dispute and the U.S.-China Phase One Deal

Author Name HIRAMI Kenta (Waseda University)
Creation Date/NO. October 2020 20-P-025
Research Project Comprehensive Research on the Current International Trade/Investment System (pt.V)
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This case is the second agriculture-related dispute brought by the United States against China at the WTO, in which the consistency with the WTO agreements of China's administration of tariff rate quotas (TRQ) for wheat, rice and corn was challenged. Since this dispute mainly concerned the interpretation of the Report of the Working Party on the Accession of China, the panel interpreted the relevant provision of the Report for the first time and newly clarified, to some extent, what special obligations China has in the administration of TRQ. The panel found that almost all the aspects of China's TRQ administration were inconsistent with the relevant obligations of China under the Working Party Report. China, while accepting the panel's findings, has expressed its willingness to continue to administer the TRQ for wheat, rice and corn in a manner consistent with the WTO agreements. Therefore, the focus will be on how China will implement the panel's recommendations and rulings. In this respect, since the issue of the implementation of this WTO ruling is also a subject of the U.S-China phase one deal, depending on future developments, it is possible that new legal problems will arise both inside and outside the WTO regime.