BEIJING — The Chinese government said on March 11 it plans to file a World Trade Organization case challenging a United States ban on Chinese poultry imports, criticizing the measure as protectionist, according to The Associated Press.

In 2004 following outbreaks of avian influenza, the U.S. and China banned imports of each other’s poultry. China later agreed to lift its controls but it complains the U.S. didn’t do the same.

The U.S. measure is "discriminatory and protectionist," said Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian in a statement on the ministry’s web site. It asked Washington to remove a measure in a 2009 Senate spending bill that it said extends the ban. China has since created a quality-control system for its poultry producers in line with international standards, Mr. Yao said. He added China currently exports poultry to the European Union, Japan and Switzerland.

Since 2004, China has imported more than 4 million tons of American poultry products, including 580,000 tons of chicken products in 2008, according to the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.

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