WASHINGTON (B)--If the U.S. Congress fails to approve permanent normal trade relations with China, it will be akin to sanctions imposed on U.S. wheat producers, according to the National Association of wheat Growers.

China represents 20% of the world's population, a NAWG statement said, so a failure on the part of the U.S. Congress to approve the trade designation would be a "self-imposed sanction" which "only serves to once again benefit producers in competing countries at the expense of U.S. wheat growers."

"The Chinese economy has expanded at a tremendous rate of 10% per year recently, increasing their ability to purchase high-quality U.S. wheat," said Christopher Shaffer, chairman of the U.S. wheat Associates.

As part of the China's application to join the WTO, it has agreed to end farm export subsidies, reduce tariffs on farm imports and establish an annual wheat tariff rate quota on wheat of 7.3 million tonnes, rising to 9.6 million in 2004.

Congress is expected to vote on permanent normal trade relations with China in May, and the vote's outcome is uncertain.

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