Sunday, 19 April 2009

The chicken war continues - in Geneva

I was in Geneva the whole week for a meeting at the WTO. Yesterday, China decided to take the chicken case with the US a month after Dr. Zhang Xiangchen, China's DPR to the WTO, made the strong statement on chicken in the WTO. It seems Obama is in for a treat of Chinese-style stir-fried chicken. The question is, does he like Chinese take-outs as Bush did?

US ban on China poultry imports slammed
Updated: 2009-04-17 22:53

BEIJING - China said here Friday a recent US law banning poultry imports from China is "obviously discriminatory" and harms the due interests of Chinese poultry industry.

The Section 727 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, which was signed into US law in March, disrupts the normal Sino-US poultry trade activities and breaches the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on tariffs and farm produce, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian.

The Chinese mission to the Geneva-based WTO filed complaints to the organization on Friday about the Section 727. According to WTO procedures, once complaints are filed, the two concerned parties usually have some 60 days to resolve disputes through consultations.

If that fails, China can request the establishment of a WTO expert panel to investigate and rule on the legality of the US measure.

Yao said it was China's legitimate right as a WTO member to file such complaints. He urged the United States to attach importance to the strong concerns of China and properly resolve the dispute by WTO procedures.

China had many rounds of negotiations, both bilateral and multilateral, on the issue and the Chinese poultry industry had also voiced strong opposition, but those dialogues failed to address China's concerns, Yao said.

"The international community should overcome the current hardships together, prevent the financial crisis from spreading and jointly fight trade protectionism," said Yao. "That was also a significant common understanding reached at the London summit by leaders of the Group of 20 countries in early April."

According to the Section 727, none of the funds made available in the Omnibus Appropriations Act can be used to "establish or implement a rule" allowing imports of poultry products from China.

China and the United States banned imports of each other's poultry products in 2004 following outbreaks of bird flu. They agreed to lift the bans at the Sino-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in 2004.

China did lift the ban but has complained that the United States was not following suit.

China imported 580,000 tons of chicken products from the United States last year, accounting for about 75 percent of total chicken imports.

No comments: