The National Chicken Council is calling on the government to press for action on a U.S. complaint, filed more than a year ago, that the European Union was violating its obligations under trade agreements by excluding U.S. poultry product imports.
"After a dozen years of U.S. poultry being excluded from the European market, the U.S. in January 2009 officially notified the World Trade Organization that the [EU's] prohibition on U.S. poultry was in conflict with WTO rules and member country obligations," Duane Rhodes, a vice president of Tyson Foods, recently told the Senate Agriculture Committee on NCC 's behalf.
"The issue was originally the use of chlorinated water during poultry processing, but subsequently the EU expanded its ban to include the use of any and all antimicrobials," Rhodes said.
After the United States initiated the dispute settlement process, the WTO announced late last year that it would establish a panel to evaluate the evidence and issue a ruling. "To date no panel members have been selected and the process is not moving forward," Rhodes said.
NCC asked the committee to urge the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to impress upon the WTO that action on this issue was long overdue and that a panel should be formed in the very near future so that the case could proceed.