Mandelson: EU Should Lift Ban on US Chicken

EU - European Union member states should lift their 11-year ban on US poultry washed in chlorine, since scientific evidence shows that it does not pose a health threat to consumers, EU External Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said Tuesday, reports Deutsche Presse Agentur
calendar icon 10 June 2008
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Mandelson also cautioned the United States against referring the case to the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying such disputes should be settled "amicably and voluntarily".

"As ever with these cases, they should be resolved amicably, and any action at the WTO should always be the last resort," Mandelson told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on the sidelines of an EU-US summit in Brno, Slovenia.

While defending the right of the US to refer the case to the WTO, the commissioner said there were few signs, for the time being, that they would do so.

Virtually all EU member states oppose lifting the ban, in spite of a recent report from the European Food Safety Authority stating that the US method of disinfecting poultry is harmless to consumers.

The US poultry row is only the latest in a string of trans-Atlantic trade disputes that have hindered a long-awaited deal on global trade.

"It is now in the hands of (EU) member states," Mandelson said about the US chicken ban.

Mandelson also defended the works of the Transatlantic Economic Council, a political body set up in 2007 with the aim of advancing economic integration between the European Union and the United States.

"We put in place a machinery that can and should endure. (But) both sides need to see real tangibles being delivered from its work.

"I hope very much that it will continue to operate with the next US administration," he added.

Stalled negotiations over the WTO Doha Round were one of the issues being discussed by US President George W Bush and top EU officials during their meeting in Slovenia.
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