BEIJING — After the United States filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization claiming Beijing violated international trade rules, China responded on Sept. 21 that the tariffs it imposed on imports of US chicken in 2010 are legal, according to The Associated Press. China "believes the anti-dumping and countervailing measures it has taken on chicken products originating in the US are in accordance with the law and conform to WTO rules," the Commerce Ministry stated on its website.

China imposed the poultry tariffs in September 2010. It claimed US chicken producers benefited from subsidies and were exporting their goods to China at unfairly low prices. Countries can impose punitive tariffs to offset both practices, but US officials said China did not follow proper procedures when it imposed them.

Tariffs were imposed against Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim's Pride, Keystone Foods and many smaller companies, said Toby Moore, a spokesman for the US Poultry and Egg Export Council.

Before the tariffs were imposed, China was among the top two markets for US chicken exports. The other was Russia. US trade officials said since then, exports have dropped 90 percent, which could cost the US industry more than $1 billion over two years.

China intends to study Washington's request for talks on the issue and would handle the issue according to WTO dispute settlement procedures, the ministry said.