WTO Hands US Poultry Producers Resounding Win in Indian Trade Dispute

June 4, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today’s announcement by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body rejecting India’s appeal of its ban on U.S. poultry imports is commended by the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and the National Chicken Council (NCC).

“We want to thank U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and their teams, for their tireless work to pursue this case to the favorable outcome that was achieved today,” said NCC and USAPEEC in a joint statement about today’s ruling.  “Indian consumers deserve access to affordable and safe protein, which the U.S. has the ability to provide. We hope that the Indian administration will comply with the ruling and will be amenable to working with the U.S. government and industry to remove all restrictions and allow access for U.S. poultry in the near future, which we estimate would be $300 million a year once India’s restrictions are removed.”

India placed a ban on U.S. poultry in 2007 under the guise of preventing low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI), but produced no scientific evidence to support the ban’s validity. In response, USTR initiated consultations in 2012, refuting India’s claims that LPAI will mutate into a highly pathogenic form of the virus.

The WTO panel and Appellate Body overwhelmingly agreed with U.S. claims that, for example, India’s ban is not based on international standards or a risk assessment; India discriminates against U.S. products in favor of Indian products; India’s measures are more trade restrictive than necessary because it is safe to import U.S. products meeting international standards; and India’s restrictions are not adapted to the characteristics of U.S. exporting regions.

“Today’s announcement by the WTO affirms what we’ve said all along – India’s ban was thinly veiled protectionism.  This ruling should send a signal other countries that have placed similar bans on U.S. poultry that they are inconsistent with WTO rules and with guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),” NCC and USAPEEC said.

Secretary Vilsack echoed that sentiment and noted that the decision affirms the importance of basing agricultural trade requirements on sound science.  “This is a major win for U.S. agriculture and, in particular, the U.S poultry industry,” he said.  “Today, America’s poultry producers are being challenged again by an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, and this decision serves to encourage USDA’s efforts to maintain open markets for U.S. poultry based on international standards.”

A copy of the Appellate Body’s report may be found here.


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