WASHINGTON — Action taken on Oct. 8 by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (U.S.T.R.), in which the U.S. will formally institute proceedings before the World Trade Organization (W.T.O.) challenging a European Union (E.U.) restriction on U.S. poultry, is being applauded by U.S. poultry companies and organizations.

"The E.U. has deprived U.S. poultry firms a fair opportunity to compete in that market for the past 12 years by imposing protectionist and unjustified non-tariff trade barriers on U.S. poultry," read a joint statement from the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. "At issue in this case is the use by U.S. poultry processors of four commonly-employed and beneficial antimicrobials, which the European Union’s own scientific committees have reviewed and have determined to be safe."

Despite the advice and recommendations of its own scientific committees, the E.U. has continued to maintain a ban on U.S. poultry imports, the statement continued. "The U.S. considers the E.U. ban on U.S. poultry to violate several provisions of W.T.O. law, including provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT], the W.T.O. Agreement on Agriculture, and the W.T.O. Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures," the statement said.

In conclusion, the statement said the U.S. poultry industry appreciates the strong leadership of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and his staff in moving forward to W.T.O. dispute settlement in this case.

"We look forward to a timely and appropriate determination from the panel," the statement said.