The World Trade Organization found Friday that Turkey's discretionary system of licensing for rice imports and failure to grant import licenses violated international trade commitments. The panel also ruled that the domestic rice purchase requirement, which made importers buy large quantities of domestic rice to receive better tariff rates for importing rice, was against WTO rules.
According to acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner, these practices caused a drop of 74 percent in U.S. rice exports to Turkey between 2005 and 2006, a decrease of $25 million.
"It is gratifying to see industry and government efforts result in a positive outcome," Conner says. "We look forward to working in cooperation with Turkey to implement the WTO Panel finding and to resume our mutually beneficial trade relationship."