China may launch trade remedy measures against imported chicken from the United States, as China’s poultry industry has complained about the unfairly priced competition from U.S. exporters, said people familiar with the matter.

“We did propose import restriction of U.S. chicken to the country’s Ministry of Commerce,” Ma Chuang, vice-secretary general at Beijing-based China Animal Agriculture Association (CAAA), told Poultry International.

Although Mr. Ma declined to disclose more details, he says that the government takes the complaints seriously and is investigating this case now.

“We are not against Sino-US chicken trade. But we doubt that the U.S. is dumping chicken into the Chinese market,” said Mr. Ma.

“The price of imported chicken is normally 5-10% lower than that of Chinese chicken. So it is hard for local producers to compete with U.S. importers, especially in the situation that customers are sensitive to food prices during the global recession,” he explained.

In the first half year of 2009, China’s chicken output accounted for only 80% of its total capacity, due to weak domestic demand. To make the matter worse, an increasing number of cheap imported chickens were sold in China, and 70-80% of them are from the U.S., according to Mr. Ma.

The data from USDA shows the U.S. is the largest broiler meat exporter to China with more than 119 million tons of annual export volume last year, and this number is expected to reach 137 million tons by October 2009.