US & JORDAN - Trade restrictions have been imposed by Jordan on imports of chicken leg quarters from the United States, which the US says are contrary to trading agreements and are pushing up prices for Jordanian consumers.
The export of US chicken leg quarters (CLQ) to Jordan faced challenges from the start but lately, the situation has taken a turn for the worse.
A recent GAIN Report for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) states that shipments of US chicken leg quarters to Jordan began in 2009, despite an 11th-hour restriction by Jordan's agriculture ministry that pack size should be no more than 2.5kg.
This condition would have discouraged most US exporters but it was overturned after high-level negotiations.
The trade grew to reach 5,200 tonnes in 2013 with a value of US$11.2 million. For the first nine months of 2014, exports reached 4,000 tonnes with a value of $6.6 million.
Since then, trade has come to a virtual halt as in September 2014, Jordan's agriculture ministry re-instated the rule that packs may not exceed 2.5kg on the grounds that larger size packages pose a risk to human health. Contamination is possible, they say, when retailers open the large packs to sell the cuts individually to consumers.
FAS says that this measure exceeds the powers of the agriculture ministry, adding that the move is "widely seen as a gross attempt to shelter local producers from outside competition".
The Service has sought to understand the nature of the measure from the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Industry and Trade (MTI) as the measure breaches Jordan's commitments under its World Trade Organization and Jordan-US Free Trade Agreements, it says.
The cessation of the trade has caused poultry meat prices to jump by 30 per cent, according to FAS, so it is Jordanian consumers who are bearing the brunt of the measure.
FAS, the US Embassy in Amman, the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and the food trade business community in Jordan are working together to oblige Jordan to meet its trade obligations and to act in a transparent way in order to maintain a stable and robust trading environment.
You can view the full report from FAS by clicking here.
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