WTO panel set for US China broiler dispute

by Staff
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WASHINGTON – Three experienced international trade experts were appointed by Pascal Lamy, the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to serve on the dispute-settlement panel that will hear the US case against China assessing anti-dumping and countervailing duties against US broiler products. The chairman is Faizullah Khiji, Pakistan, and the two members are Serge Fréchette, Canada and Claudia Orozco, Colombia, according to the June 8 edition of the National Chicken Council’s Washington Report.

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) requested on Dec. 8 that WTO establish a dispute settlement panel. On January 20, the WTO Dispute Settlement Board agreed to form a panel and simultaneously, the European Union, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Thailand reserved their third-party rights in the case. Chile and Mexico subsequently received their third-party rights.

USTR explained In its filing with the WTO that the Chinese “measures appear to be inconsistent with various provisions of the anti-dumping agreement related to the process of the anti-dumping investigation as well as the anti-dumping duty determination at issue, including improper dumping and injury determination; improper reliance on the facts available; failure to provide access to relevant information; insufficient explanation of the basis for the determinations; absence of proper analysis of the effects of imports under investigation; and absence of objective determination of causality.”

The US also claimed the “measures appear to be inconsistent with various provisions of the SCM Agreement related to the process of the subsidy investigation as well as the countervailing duty determination at issue, including improper reliance on the facts available; insufficient explanation of the basis for the determinations; and imposition of countervailing duties in excess of the subsidy found to exist.”

If a case runs its full course to a first ruling, the process usually takes about one year, or 15 months, if the case is appealed, WTO said. It further noted the schedule is flexible and, therefore, an extended schedule is quite possible. Most cases are settled “out-of-court” or remain in a prolonged consultation phase.

China initially triggered the issue in September 2009 when its government alleged that US chicken unfairly benefited from low corn prices and used “average cost accounting” to document that chicken leg quarters were sold to China at prices below the cost of producing a whole carcass chicken. WTO has previously ruled that “average cost accounting” is not an acceptable methodology to determining whether a particular part of chicken or similar animal was “dumped” into an export market.

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