BEIJING, Aug 24 (Reuters) - China felt "sorry" about the United States seeking a WTO dispute panel on China's grain import quotas, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday, Beijing's first official response to the U.S. request to the World Trade Organization.
"China feels sorry that the United States has given up on continuing negotiations to resolve this case," said spokesman Gao Feng at a presser on Thursday.
The U.S. government requested a WTO panel be set up to investigate Chinese tariff-rate-quotas (TRQs) for wheat, rice and corn, the trade body said earlier this week.
The U.S. Trade Representative said as early as December that China - the world's biggest grains market - did not maximize its used of TRQs even though global prices of the three commodities were lower than its domestic prices.
China said its tariff-rate system was in line with its commitments to the WTO and the relevant rules, according to the ministry spokesman.
(Reporting by Yawen Chen, Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Tom Hogue)