WTO Supports China over US Chicken Imports

GLOBAL - The World Trade Organization (WTO) is reported to be backing China in its trade dispute with the US over chicken.
calendar icon 28 July 2010
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A WTO panel has ruled in favour of China in its dispute with the United States over an effective US ban on imports of cooked Chinese chicken, reports an official Chinese source.

The dispute, one of several political and economic differences dogging US-Chinese relations, originated, like many trade rows, in health concerns – in this case, US nervousness about Chinese poultry following outbreaks of bird flu in Asia.

Asked whether China had won the case, the source, who is familiar with the ruling, told Reuters: "You could say that. It went well."

The dispute arose because of a spending bill passed by the US Congress that prevented the authorities from taking any measures to process imports of Chinese chicken.

China said the measure was discriminatory and protectionist because its poultry met international health standards and it was exporting chicken to Europe and Japan.

Since the WTO agreed to set up the panel in July last year, the US Senate and House of Representatives – under pressure from US meat producers fearing the loss of exports to China – ended the ban on funding.

But the ban on imports remains effectively in place as the US Department of Agriculture is still reviewing Chinese food safety rules before deciding whether it can start inspections at Chinese processing plants.

The WTO issued a ruling in the dispute to the two parties on 26 July but it remains confidential until it is published in a couple of months time. There was no official comment from Chinese or US authorities.

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