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China to Sue US Poultry Ban at WTO

by 5m Editor
11 March 2009, at 9:15a.m.

CHINA - China will take the US to the WTO regarding the US ban on Chinese poultry products. China reserves the rights for further actions.

Some members of the National People's Congress attending the ongoing annual NPC national session in Beijing strongly petitioned that the Chinese government take retaliatory action against the US poultry export to China. This is according to a statement on 11 March by Yao Jian, spokesman of China's Ministry of Commerce, responding to the US Senate's decision on 10 March that approved such a ban in the 2009 spending bill.

Section 727 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act 2009 provides:" None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to establish or implement a rule allowing poultry products to be imported into the United States from the People's Republic of China."

Yao reminded the US that they had repeatedly recognized that on the issue of lifting the existing ban on Chinese poultry products there were no technical problems on food safety and the only thing yet to be done was to go through a legal procedure.

"However, despite all of that the US still takes discriminatory restrictions on Chinese poultry products. That is not fair and is odious in nature," commented Yao, urging the US to remove the article.

He added that China has built a quality control and management system in line with international standards in its poultry industry. China exports poultry products to many countries and regions like the EU, Japan and Switzerland.

Yao criticizes the ban as "a typical discriminatory and protectionist measure" which is "a serious violation of WTO rules that disturbs the normal poultry trade between China and the US, and constitutes as an infringement of the legitimate rights and interests of China's poultry industry."

Before the Senate's decision, the US House of Representatives passed the bill on 25 February, which also aroused China's strong opposition. China threatened a WTO lawsuit if that bill was ratified by the Senate and the President.

In April 2004, China and the US agreed to resume trade on poultry products between the two countries ending the suspension of trade after the bird flu outbreak. Since then China opened its market to the US on frozen poultry products. However, the US has not honored its commitment on opening its market to China on cooked poultry products.

China has imported more than 4 million tons of poultry products from the US over the past five years, accounting for more than 75 per cent of China's total poultry imports and 7 per cent of China's total poultry market. In 2008, China imported 580,000 tons of chicken products from the US, which is a lion share in the country's global imports of 790,000 tons.

However, no Chinese poultry products have been exported to the US over the past five years. The European Union lifted its six-year ban on Chinese cooked poultry products last year.