China Levies Further Tariff on US Chicken

CHINA - As part of a long-running trade dispute with the US and alleging that US poultry producers are subsidised, the Ministry of Commerce is imposing a new tariff on imports of US poultry meat from 30 April.
calendar icon 28 April 2010
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China will impose a second round of preliminary tariffs on imports of US chicken products after an initial finding that US producers received subsidies worth between 3.8 and 31.4 per cent of their selling prices, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement today (28 April).

CapitalGR reports that the new tariffs follow the imposition in February of anti-dumping tariffs on US chicken products. In that round, tariffs of between 43.1 and 80.5 per cent were imposed on imports of chicken products from various US producers.

Starting on 30 April, importers of the chicken products will have to pay a deposit to the customs office according to the level of subsidy that the US company is found to have received, the statement said. It continued that the tariffs apply to whole chickens, chicken parts and chicken by-products, regardless of whether they are shipped fresh or frozen. Live chickens, canned chicken products and cooked chicken products such as chicken sausages are exempt, reports Capital GR.

According to Business Week, an initial investigation showed that the US provides subsidised soybeans and corn to its poultry industry, hurting Chinese producers, the Ministry of Commerce said on its web site.

"These taxes effectively make it impossible to import any US chicken products," Li Qiang, managing director at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., said by phone from Shanghai. "US chicken product exports to China have already shrunk drastically since the announcement of an anti-dumping duty."

China consumed almost 800,000 tonnes tons of US chicken in 2008, valued at $722 million, according to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. Actual imports were probably higher, at more than one million tons, because of shipments transferred through Hong Kong and Macau, Mr Li added.

He said: "I don't think China and US trade will be derailed by the chicken dispute," reports Business Week.

The preliminary ruling on countervailing duties comes on top of anti-dumping duties of up to 105.4 per cent that China imposed on the US chicken products in February, reports Financial Times.

China began its investigation of US chicken imports after the US imposed safeguard duties on Chinese-made tyres, which China has challenged at the World Trade Organisation.

Chicken feet and wing tips, virtually worthless in the US market, are a delicacy in southern China. Many US poultry producers count on the Chinese market to round out their profits.

Trade frictions add to a range of bilateral disputes from military to environmental issues, with US calls that China let its currency rise being the most serious source of contention at present. Leaders of the two countries will meet in Beijing in late May for their annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, in an attempt to address some of the concerns, according to Financial Times.

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