U.S., China poultry dispute escalates

by Bryan Salvage
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GENEVA — On July 20, U.S. trade officials blocked creating a panel of judges at the World Trade Organization requested to examine the U.S. ban on Chinese poultry imports that Beijing officials claim are in violation of W.T.O. rules, according to Reuters. As a result, China responded by requesting an extra meeting on July 31 of the dispute settlement body to approve the panel.

Central to the ongoing dispute is the U.S. Omnibus Appropriations Act for 2009, which specifies none of its funds should be used to facilitate Chinese poultry imports. "While violating various W.T.O. rules, the measure has severely undermined the stable development of Sino-U.S. trade on poultry products and damaged the lawful rights and interests of China's poultry industry," charged China's W.T.O. delegation in a statement.

However, the U.S. delegation said the U.S. allows poultry imports from all countries Washington has an agreement with in regards to respecting each other's health and safety standards.

China launched the trade dispute in April. U.S. poultry producers fear China could retaliate, blocking the biggest export market for the U.S. industry, worth almost $700 million annually. U.S. trade groups counter, however, China is already preventing some U.S. chicken products from entering the country.

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