ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

US chicken exports to India more likely

India broke World Trade Organization rules by blocking imports of U.S. poultry and other farm products because of unsubstantiated bird flu fears, a WTO dispute panel ruled on Oct. 14, potentially opening up an estimated $300 million a year export...

Chicken
KFC is under pressure to revise its policies for poultry, after McDonald's announced it will phase out the use of antibiotics crucial to human health in poultry raised for its food products.

India broke World Trade Organization rules by blocking imports of U.S. poultry and other farm products because of unsubstantiated bird flu fears, a WTO dispute panel ruled on Oct. 14, potentially opening up an estimated $300 million a year export market for the U.S.

India had claimed its import restrictions, imposed in 2007, were justified by international rules on animal health, but the panel agreed with the U.S. and found that India's measures were not based on international standards and were discriminatory.

"This is a major victory for American farmers," says U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who termed the poultry decision "the fourth major WTO victory" for the U.S. this year. "Our farmers produce the finest, and safest, agricultural products in the world."

The U.S. brought the case in March 2012. The most recent outbreak of high pathogenic avian flu in the U.S. was in 2004. Since then, India has had more than 90 such outbreaks, according to the USTR.

"India's ban was thinly veiled protectionism," James Sumner, president of the USA Poultry and Egg Council, and Michael Brown, president of the National Chicken Council, say in a joint statement. "Free and fair trade, particularly with food, should never be used as a political bargaining chip."

ADVERTISEMENT

In India, which under WTO rules has 60 days to appeal the ruling, the Trade Ministry declined to comment.

A senior official at the ministry says the government will study the ruling and a decision on appeal against the decision could be taken after getting the view of Animal Husbandry department. If an appeal is filed, the WTO's appellate body must issue a new report within 90 days.

The ruling could increase imports of poultry and eggs from the U.S., although India could still try to restrict them using other measures such as anti-dumping duties if U.S. exporters tried to sell their products at unfairly cheap prices.

Otherwise, India is bound to provide fair market access to other countries under the WTO rules, which could happen some time in 2015.

"U.S. producers are ready and have been ready to provide high-quality poultry and poultry products to the Indian market," says U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The ruling was hailed by lawmakers from states such as Georgia, Virginia and Delaware, which employ hundreds of thousands of workers in the poultry industry.

"Agriculture is still the No. 1 industry in Delaware, and poultry is king," says U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del.

The U.S. vies with Brazil as the world's largest exporter of broiler (chicken) meat.

ADVERTISEMENT

India's broiler consumption is rising rapidly as its residents increase their protein intake. U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts consumption in 2014 at 3.7 million metric tons, up 40 percent from as recently as 2010.

Related Topics: CROPS
What To Read Next
More people are turning to small, local egg producers as a sharp rise in conventionally farmed egg prices impacts the U.S. this winter.
This week on AgweekTV, we hear from Sen. John Hoeven on the farm bill. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz puts ag in his budget. We reminisce with Mikkel Pates, and we learn about the origins of the skid-steer.
There's something about Red Angus that caught the eye of this Hitterdal, Minnesota, beef producer.
David Karki of SDSU underlined that planting cover crops like rye is not so much about big yield increases, but it will make the land more tolerant of fluctuations in weather.