India Fails to Lift Restrictions on US Poultry in Consultations

US - US Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that the US has requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) establish a dispute settlement panel to decide US claims regarding the government of India’s restrictions on imports of various US agricultural products, including poultry meat and chicken eggs.
calendar icon 14 May 2012
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“It is essential that US farmers obtain the reliable market access that India agreed to,” said Mr Kirk in a press release today. “The United States holds its agriculture industry to the highest standards of safety and is confident the WTO will agree that there is no justification for India's restrictions on US exports.”

In response to the announcement, the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council released the following statement:

“Unfortunately, the government of India did not lift its unwarranted restrictions on US poultry after consultations with the United States at the WTO in Geneva. However, we are pleased that USTR is taking the next step. We support the dispute settlement process moving forward as soon as possible with the formation of this panel.”

For years, India has used a variety of non-tariff trade barriers to deny access US poultry to the Indian market. Although international health standards, in particular those of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), identify only highly pathogenic stains of avian influenza as warranting trade restrictions, India has long ignored those international norms and has banned poultry imports from the US or any country that reports any incident of avian influenza, even cases of low pathogenicity. This is a protectionist policy that is inconsistent with accepted international standards, and has no health or safety justification. This policy is particularly problematic in the case of the US, which is the most efficient poultry producer in the world and the world’s leading exporter of poultry products.

By conservative estimates, if India’s trade barriers were eliminated, the value of US poultry exports to India each year would surpass $300 million.

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