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The World Trade Organization is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The World Trade Organization is based in Geneva, Switzerland. | Wikimedia Commons, World Trade Organization
on May 10, 2016

US challenges China on chicken import duties

The United States is taking its three-year dispute with Chinese tariffs on broiler products to the World Trade Organization again

The United States is challenging China over duties assessed on chicken products imported from the country.

On May 10, the office of The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced it’s challenge to China’s import duties on broiler products in front of the World Trade Organization. The USTR said China’s government is failing to bring its antidumping and countervailing duties against imports of U.S. chicken into compliance with the WTO’s standards.  

In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the action holds China accountable for “unfair taxes they are imposing on American exports.”

“These unfair and unjustified taxes are in direct violation of China’ s international commitments and tilt the playing field further against America’s poultry farmer,” Froman said. “American farmers deserve a fair shot to compete and win in the global economy and this administration will continue to hold China responsible when they attempt to disadvantage our farmers, businesses and workers.”

The issue dates back to 2013, when the U.S. successfully challenged the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties China’s Ministry of Commerce assessed on U.S. chicken products in 2010. Then, the Geneva, Switzerland, intergovernmental organization determined the Chinese duties breached WTO rules.

According to a USTR release, China re-investigated the issue in 2014 and issued a re-determination claiming its duties on U.S. chicken products are justified and said its re-determination brought the country back into WTO compliance.  

“On the basis of this intensive review, the United States considers that the re-investigation process and the re-determination breach WTO rules and that accordingly, China has failed to bring its measures into compliance with WTO rules,” the release said.

The United States is the world’s largest poultry producer and the second-largest exporter of poultry meat. In 2016, the U.S. is forecast to export more than 3 million metric tons of broiler products.

Challenge supported by poultry, ag groups

Representatives of the U.S. chicken and farming industry cheered the challenge.

In a joint release, the National Chicken Council and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said they were heartened to see the USTR challenge China on the duties.

“As one of the main export destinations for products like chicken paws and wingtips, China is an important market to the United States. The sale of these products added considerable value to the U.S. broiler industry, and the duties imposed by China have unfairly hindered access to this important market,” the groups' statement said. “The U.S. government has reasonably tried to work with China since then to resolve this matter consistent with the panel's decision, but China's continued failure to abide by the ruling and to meet its obligations is unacceptable.”

In a statement, the American Farm Bureau Federation gave its enthusiastic support of the action.

“China is misusing anti-dumping rules. China’s actions keep U.S. poultry from being sold to Chinese consumers at a price that reflects a fair profit for American farmers and real value for its own citizens,” the bureau stated. “The Farm Bureau supports trade that brings fair prices to farmers and good nutrition to a rapidly-growing population around the world.”

U.S. President Barack Obama’s USTR has filed 21 enforcement complaints with the WTO – 12 against China – and, so far, has won every complaint decided by the WTO.

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