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International Egg and Poultry Review

by 5m Editor
19 August 2009, at 10:20am

CHINA - By the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). This is a weekly report looking at international developments concerning the poultry industry. This week's report covers China's request to the WTO to investigate the US import ban on the country's poultry.

China Requests WTO Panel to Investigate US Import Ban on Chinese Poultry

On 31 July 2009, the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) established an expert panel to investigate the US barriers to imports of Chinese poultry. The case is titled DS392: United States – Certain measures affecting imports of poultry from China.

This was the latest step in a process that began on 17 April 2009 when China requested consultations with the US government through the WTO concerning measures the US took affecting the import of poultry products from China. Consultations were held on 15 May 2009 but failed to settle the dispute.

Accordingly, on 10 July, China requested a panel be established to challenge certain related measures that prevent the importation of poultry products from China in to the US The US blocked the request, which is a right that the WTO allows each member once during a dispute case. China repeated its request for a panel on 31 July and this time the request went through. A request for a panel will only be denied a second time if all present Members agree to block the request, which has never occurred at the international trade court.

In its request China noted that on 11 March 2009 the US President signed the US Omnibus Appropriation Act of 2009 into law. China pointed out that Section 727 of the Act states that "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."

Analysis by: Commodity and Marketing Programs/FAS/USDA
Source: US Bureau of the Census Trade Data

In a statement, the US expressed disappointment and said the US does not agree with China’s claims that the measures are discriminatory or protectionist and that nothing in the measure identified by China prevents the relevant US authorities from working to reach an objective, science-based response to China’s request for a declaration of equivalence with respect to poultry. The US also noted certain technical deficiencies in the Chinese request.

Countries can declare that they have an interest in the case and enjoy some rights. The European Commission, Guatemala, Korea and Turkey reserved their third-party rights.

How long to settle a dispute?

These approximate periods for each stage of a dispute settlement procedure are target figures — the agreement is flexible. In addition, the countries can settle their dispute themselves at any stage. Totals are also approximate.

60 days Consultations, mediation, etc
45 days Panel set up and panelists appointed
6 months Final panel report to parties
3 weeks Final panel report to WTO members
60 days Dispute Settlement Body adopts report (if no appeal)
Total = 1 year (without appeal)
60-90 days Appeals report
30 days Dispute Settlement Body adopts appeals report
Total = 1y 3m (with appeal)

Source: World Trade Organization; ICTSD Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest http://ictsd.net/news/bridgesweekly; Office of US Trade Representative

Source: Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.