The World Trade Organization will establish an expert panel to look into whether a U.S. ban on the import of Chinese poultry violates international trade laws, as alleged by China, farmfutures.com reported.

The decision follows a meeting of the WTO's dispute settlement body after China filed a request the second time.

U.S. meat companies support lifting the ban as they fear China might retaliate by banning U.S. imports. Trade groups said Chinese importers had already begun blocking shipments of U.S. chicken.

A statement posted on the Internet by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative's says: "We do not agree with China's assertions that the issue amounts to a discriminatory or protectionist measure.

"As we have stated, nothing in the measure identified by China prevents the relevant U.S. authorities from continuing to work together to reach an objective, science-based response to China's request for a declaration of equivalence with respect to poultry products."