A World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel has issued a report finding Turkey’s restrictions on market access for U.S. rice violate WTO rules, according to U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab.

“I am extremely pleased with the panel report,” Schwab said. “The panel’s findings will help to level the playing field and give U.S. rice growers fair access to Turkey’s market.”

“This is welcome news for the U.S. rice industry,” said Betsy Ward, USA Rice president and CEO. “We deeply appreciate the effort by Ambassador Schwab and her staff to bring this issue to a successful conclusion.”

The panel agreed with the United States that Turkey’s failure to grant licenses to import rice and its operation of a discretionary import licensing system for rice are in breach of Turkey’s market access obligations under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.

The panel also agreed with the United States that Turkey’s domestic purchase requirement, under which Turkey requires importers of rice to purchase large quantities of domestic rice in order to import rice at preferential tariff rates, is in breach of WTO national treatment provisions.