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US Lawmakers Seek Legal Action Against India on Wheat Subsidy

US lawmakers are seeking litigation at World Trade Organization against India on subsidizing wheat against WTO rules.

Shivani Meena
Wheat crop
Wheat crop

Top American lawmakers have asked the Joe Biden administration to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization against India for subsidizing its farmers by more than half the value of wheat output. US Wheat Associates, which has been vigorously advocating for such a step by the government, has welcomed the letters from members of Congress and the Senate. 

In a letter, a group of 28 members of the US Congress stated that "American commodity producers are operating at a clear disadvantage to their competitors, mainly from India, in which the government is subsidizing more than half the value of output for wheat and rice, instead of just the 10% permitted under World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines." 

"We ask that you take immediate action to change India's pattern of noncompliance with WTO domestic support standards by starting a dispute resolution case," the letter to US Trade Representatives Katherine Tai and Tom Vilsack stated. 

Members of Congress wrote The United States has repeatedly pressed India in the World Trade Organization to reform its price support program but to no avail. "Given India's activity," they stated, "we recommend you to commence the WTO litigation process through a request for consultations." 

The letter from Congressmen on January 13 comes almost a month after 18 Senators written to Vilsack and Tai urging that the Biden administration launch a WTO case against India's domestic support for rice and wheat production. 

The US has also used counter-notifications in the WTO Committee on Agriculture to stress India's non-compliance.US Wheat Associates said it was "pleased that several members of Congress have started asking Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai to undertake a WTO case against India's trade-distorting domestic wheat and rice support" in a comment in response to the lawmakers' move. 

According to a press release, "the distortion of international wheat and rice trade caused by these policies is significant, costing US wheat farmers more than USD 500 million annually lost income, as per a 2020 Texas A&M University research commissioned by USW and USA Rice." 

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