WTO says US ban on China poultry illegal

Updated: 2010-10-26 06:42
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GENEVA - The World Trade Organization adopted on Monday, at its Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting, its final rulings on the China-US poultry dispute, outlawing the "Section 727", applied by the US in 2009 practically banning Chinese poultry product from entering the US market.

The rulings, came after the WTO panel report on Sept 29, was adopted without US appeal.

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In a statement addressing the DSB meeting, the Chinese Delegation to the WTO welcomed the rulings which "speaks very clearly" in its findings that Section 727 of Division A of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 ("Section 727"), is "inconsistent" with the WTO rules.

The Delegation said the United States "has completely banned the importation of poultry products from China since 2007 through its annual appropriation acts and other related measure," which " fundamentally violate relevant WTO rules", and "substantially impair the rights and benefits that Chinese enterprises deserve to enjoy under the multilateral trading system".

The Delegation called to attention that although the "Section 727" has expired, "certain provisions in annual appropriations measures of the US Congress may still affect China's ability to access US poultry market in the future."

China hopes that the United States would "take positive steps to eliminate all discriminate measures against Chinese poultry products, conduct fair import assessments and tests on poultry from China and resume normal China-US trade on poultry products", the Chinese Delegation added.

The US Delegation, speaking on the same occasion, said it is "disappointed with the findings" by the panel, and "believes that this conclusion is not correct", arguing that the "Section 727" has expired in 2009.

"As the measure at issue in this dispute ceased to exist in 2009, the United States considers the measure has been withdrawn," and "the dispute has been resolved", added the US Delegation.

In 2004, China and the US stopped importing poultry products from each other for fear of the bird flu.

China had called off the ban on US poultry imports when the H1N1 alert was relieved. But access of Chinese poultry to the US market has continued to be blocked, by the application of "Section 727" passed by the US congress, restricting the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its agency, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) from using funds allocated by the US Congress to create a rule to lift the poultry ban on China.

At the request of China, a panel was established by the WTO on Sept 23, 2009 to investigate the case.

According to WTO statistics, its Dispute Settlement Body has accepted 12 trade dispute cases between China and the US since January 2007, comparing with only three cases in the previous five-year period starting from January 2002.