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China Turns up the Heat on Trade Dispute

by 5m Editor
21 July 2009, at 9:00a.m.

CHINA - China has requested a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel to probe the ban by the US on poultry imports from China.

Official sources say that on 20 July, China formally requested the WTO to set up an expert panel to investigate and rule whether a US ban on Chinese poultry imports violates WTO regulations.

The request was made at a meeting of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, but it was rejected by the United States according to relevant procedures.

During the meeting, the Chinese delegation reiterated that the US measure is "discriminatory" and "has damaged the lawful rights and interests of China's poultry industry".

"While violating various WTO rules, the measure has severely undermined the stable development of Sino-US trade in poultry products," the Chinese delegation said.

At the heart of the dispute is the US Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, which contains a section prohibiting any funds being used to facilitate imports of poultry products from China. The act was signed into US law in March, and China filed complaints to the WTO in on 17 April.

While the latest request for the WTO panel was rejected by the United States, China could make a second request at the end of this month. After the second request, the WTO panel will be established automatically.

It usually takes more than half a year for a WTO panel to give its final ruling on a trade dispute.

China and the United States banned imports of each other's poultry products in 2004 following outbreaks of bird flu. They agreed to lift the bans at the Sino-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in 2004.

China did lift the ban but has complained that the United States has not followed suit.

China imported 580,000 tons of chicken products from the United States last year, accounting for about 75 per cent of total chicken imports.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.