GENEVA — Peru is illegally protecting its farmers against falls in global commodity markets, according to Guatemala, which has launched a challenge against Peru's policy at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Peru, which is one of the countries negotiating the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, imposes an extra import levy on rice, sugar, corn, milk and some milk products when international prices fall below a certain level, Guatemala has told the WTO.
Peru has 60 days to address Guatemala's concerns, after which time Guatemala could ask the WTO to adjudicate on the dispute. A panel of adjudicators could ultimately force Peru to change its laws if they are found to be in breach of WTO rules.
The trade dispute is the first between the two countries at the WTO. Peru has previously been the subject of four complaints, all from other South American countries, while Guatemala has brought eight disputes so far, including complaints against the European Union and China.
Guatemala and Peru signed a bilateral free trade agreement in December 2011, but trade between them has been limited, with each selling less than $100 million of goods to the other each year.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Guatemala was not a significant exporter of rice, corn, or sugar to Peru in 2012.
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