WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. grain groups say they will participate fully with China’s investigation into anti-dumping and countervailing duties of imported U.S. sorghum.

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) said they will demonstrate that U.S. sorghum farmers do not dump products into China and that U.S. sorghum is not unfairly subsidized.

Tom Sleight president and CEO of USGC
Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the USGC

“It is a prescribed process,” said Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer of the USGC, in an interview with the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB). “There are lots of steps China must recognize in terms of sheer timing. It is critical to cooperate in these investigations because that’s the only way to defend your rights moving forward.”

Sorghum markets reacted early in the week as farmers and the trade became concerned about market access in China. The market in China is not shutdown and sales contracts continue to be executed.

“The U.S.–China agricultural relationship is beneficial to U.S. farmers, Chinese consumers and our respective partners,” said Tim Lust, CEO of the NSP. “We appreciate our deep and long-standing relationships within these buyers and the feed and livestock industries in China.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce, known as MOFCOM, announced the cases on Feb. 4. The proceedings will be governed by procedures outlined by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and will likely last for a year or more.

The USGC recently has worked on two similar cases with China related to U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and one with Peru related to ethanol and has staff prepared to assist the sorghum industry in its defense.

Sleight said council staff globally also is working to immediately find new export demand for U.S. sorghum, which has been dominated by China in recent years.

China was the largest market for U.S. sorghum in 2016-17 with 205 million bushels in sales, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. That represented 82% of all U.S. sorghum exports.