The U.S. has requested the World Trade Organization establish a dispute settlement panel to decide U.S. claims regarding the government of India’s restrictions on imports of various U.S. agricultural products, including poultry meat and chicken eggs, according to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
For years, India has used a variety of non-tariff trade barriers to deny U.S. poultry access to the Indian market. Although international health standards, in particular those of the World Organization for Animal Health, identify only highly pathogenic stains of avian influenza as warranting trade restrictions, India has banned poultry imports from the U.S. or any country that reports any incident of avian influenza, even cases of low pathogenicity. According to the U.S. government, 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 U.S., which is the world’s leading exporter of poultry products.
“Unfortunately, the government of India did not lift its unwarranted restrictions on U.S. poultry after consultations with the United States at the [World Trade Organization] in Geneva," said the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council in a joint statement. "However, we are pleased that [the U.S. Trade Representative] is taking the next step. We support the dispute settlement process moving forward as soon as possible with the formation of this panel.”