China must be given 'fair consideration' on poultry exports

BEIJING - A recent US provision that effectively blocks China's poultry exports to the country leaves an impression that it was "made on political grounds," a top American poultry industry representative said on Friday.
calendar icon 11 September 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Decisions must be made "on the basis of sound science politics really has no place in it..." James H. Sumner, president of the US Poultry & Egg Export Council and head of the International Poultry Council, told senior Chinese quarantine officials in Beijing.

"China must be given fair consideration," he stressed.

He was commenting on an act passed by the US House of Representatives earlier this month.

According to the bill, "none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to establish or implement a rule allowing poultry products to be imported into the United States from the People's Republic of China".

"The last thing we need is something like this to get in the way of our mutual progress as long as (Chinese) products reach the standards, nobody should stand in the way," Sumner said.

He expressed concern that "politicians who don't understand the principles of free trade" may come to severely undermine the US export trade.

He made the remarks during an unexpected visit to "show support" to China's poultry industry, only days before a bilateral food safety summit between the two countries scheduled in Washington DC.

In an August 31 letter to the US House Agricultural Appropriations Committee, he explicitly called for "calmer minds and careful voices" to resolve current disputes.

Sumner brought along with him similar letters from five American companies, which together represent 75 percent of US chicken production and 80 percent of its exports.

"This is good evidence that the entire (US poultry) industry supports the statements I've made," he said, adding that China's "willingness and commitment to work together" has been highly appreciated.

Earlier, the Chinese poultry industry condemned the US act on the ground that it "violated basic rules of the World Trade Organization and is against the principles of fair trade".

China is the world's largest meat producer and the second largest poultry producer, after the United States.
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