WASHINGTON – Mexico must drop antidumping charges against the US poultry industry, several US senators said in a letter to the US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk.

In a letter to Kirk, the senators said Mexico began an investigation into allegations by three Mexican poultry companies that the US was exporting chicken leg quarters to Mexico at below-market prices. After announcing preliminary results, Mexico proposed duties on US poultry ranging from 64 percent to 129 percent. Mexico’s action is based on the assumption that chicken parts should be priced the same.

“This assumption is flawed and concerns us as members from poultry producing states,” wrote the senators in their letter to Kirk. “The Mexican antidumping action will deprive our poultry industry of the market access provided under the North America Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]. This case sets an ominous example that must not be repeated throughout the protein sector. The same approach could encourage others in Mexico to institute frivolous antidumping actions against our beef, pork or dairy sectors.”

The National Chicken Council said chicken exports to China have been greatly reduced because of anti-dumping duties, which leaves Mexico as a crucial market. Mexico imported nearly 250,000 metric tons of poultry valued at roughly $270 million.

The proposed duties have not been applied, and a final decision on the duties is expected by August.