International Egg and Poultry Review: US

US - This is a weekly report by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), looking at international developments concerning the poultry industry. This week's report covers USTR reports on barriers to trade.
calendar icon 28 April 2010
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US Trade Representative Ron Kirk transmitted the 2010 National Trade Estimate (NTE) report to Congress on 31 March 2010. This is an annual report that covers US trade concerns about barriers to US trade and investment faced in the previous year. Several countries have barriers that affect exports of US poultry. This year, US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, delivered two new, related reports focusing on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers and technical barriers to trade that harm the ability of US agriculture and manufacturing businesses to export their products.

USTR 2010 national trade estimate

Among the issues covered in the report, several concern poultry. In 2006, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus announced plans for the formation of a trilateral customs union. Legal agreements for the creation of the customs union were officially signed on 27 November 2009. A common external tariff was enacted effective 1 January 2010 and as a result, Kazakhstan increased the tariff rate on some 5,400 tariff lines. As a result of the new customs union, Kazakhstan will implement tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) beginning 1 January 2010 on poultry, beef and pork in light of Russia's TRQs on these products.

Malaysia maintains TRQs for 17 tariff lines, including live poultry and poultry meat. In-quota duties fall between 10 and 25 per cent; out-of-quota duties are between 40 and 168 per cent. Malaysia requires all meat imports to be licensed and restricts the types of pork and poultry cuts that may be imported. These import permits can, and often are, used to restrict imports of chicken meat and pork cuts when domestic prices are low. Malaysia also requires import licences for eggs.

The Philippines has TRQs for several items, including poultry. Since 2002, the Philippine government has maintained a special safeguard (SSG) for out-of-quota chicken imports, which effectively doubles the out-of-quota tariff. After a recent series of typhoons, the Philippine Department of Agriculture suspended the SSG for imported chicken entering the country in December, and then extended the suspension through January 2010.

As of the end of 2009, South Africa maintained anti-dumping duties on three products from the United States, one of which is chicken meat portions. The Minister of Trade and Industry announced its intention to terminate anti-dumping duties on several imported products because the sunset review of those duties had not been initiated before the expiration of the five year period as calculated under South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal. At the same time, the ITAC said it would seek court permission to retain and 'regularise' anti-dumping duties on 16 products, including chicken meat portions. As of the end of 2009, this application had not yet been filed with the Court.

2010 report on sanitary and phytosanitary measures

A section on foreign trade barriers to US exports of poultry and poultry products focused on avian influenza- (AI)related import bans. There have been three minor outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) since 1924, none of which caused significant human illness. There is no evidence that HPAI currently exists in the United States and the US regulatory authorities have put in place numerous safeguards to ensure that HPAI is not established in the US poultry population.

Despite these measures, many countries have imposed AI-related import bans on US poultry. India prohibits imports of most US poultry and poultry products, as well as live swine, while China has banned imports of poultry and poultry products from six US states. Other trading partners, including Ecuador, Egypt, Kazakhstan, and Kuwait, have also banned US poultry and poultry products based on also banned US poultry and poultry products based on concerns over AI.

The US has raised concerns over the various AI-related imports bans around the world in numerous bilateral and multilateral forums with the trading partners concerned. The US has had 36 AI-related bans lifted since 2008. It remains a high priority for the US to remove the remaining AI-related import bans on US poultry and poultry products that authorities in India, China and other countries have imposed.

China has imposed a zero tolerance limit for the presence of Salmonella bacteria, E. coli and Listeria spp. pathogens in imported meat and poultry. The zero tolerance standard for these pathogens appears to lack a scientific basis.

The Colombian Ministry of Health began implementing a zero tolerance for Salmonella on imported raw poultry products in August 2007.

In April 2008, the CACM member countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua) notified the WTO of their intent to establish microbiological criteria for a number of foods. In response to the notification, the US outlined a series of concerns that some of the proposed microbiological criteria (specifically zero tolerance for Salmonella on poultry meat) appeared to lack a scientific basis, and had the potential to create a trade barrier for US poultry exports.

2010 report on technical barriers to trade (TBT)

The United States seeks to reduce foreign technical barriers by concluding 'equivalency' arrangements with other governments. A recent example is the June 2009 exchange of equivalency determinations between USDA and Canada's Food Inspection Agency on organic agricultural products. As a result of that exchange, US producers that a USDA-accredited agent has certified as meeting US National Organic Program standards do not need to be certified under the Canada's National Organic Standard in order to market their products in Canada as 'organic'. The exchange provides for Canadian producers to receive a similar accommodation for products they export to the United States.

The US has negotiated three types of agreements with major trading partners in an attempt to facilitate trade in organic products:

  • under a 'recognition agreement', an importing country agrees to recognise USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) to accredit certifying agents within the US to certify products as organic under the importing country's requirements. USDA has accredited certifying agents in other countries to certify product as organic under the NOP.
  • under an 'equivalency arrangement', the US and another country agree to allow some or all products produced and certified to the exporting country's organic requirements to be sold as organic in the importing country.
  • under an 'export arrangement', US organics producers can sell their products as organic in another market, e.g. Japan, Taiwan, provided that their products meet specific requirements of the importing country.

Source: Office of the US Trade Representative

To see the complete USTR report, click here.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
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