Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Antidumping on chicken feet but losses continue

On February 5, China imposed antidumping duties on imports of U.S. poultry products. A reporter from International Commerce Daily investigated the Chinese industry's situation four months later. The headline touts a "slow recovery," but the reality is that Chinese poultry companies are still losing money and imports from other countries have come in to take the place of U.S. imports.

Chinese industry representatives interviewed for the article complain that "unfair" competition from U.S. products was responsible for massive losses, low capacity utilization, falling sales and low prices during the first half of 2009. In August 2009, with the situation "getting worse and worse," representatives of the China Animal Husbandry Association proposed an antidumping investigation against U.S. chicken products.

The China Food and Native Products Export Association [interestingly, they forgot the word "Import" in the association's name!] vice chairman told the reporter that the antidumping duties have ushered in rare breathing space for the domestic enterprises. However, in the next paragraph the vice chairman is quoted as saying, "The market is still full of dumped products. Although imports from the U.S. are reduced, imports from other countries have increased."

Another industry official says the situation for Chinese poultry companies is not as bad as last year, but there are still losses across the board. There is not a real recovery yet. The price of chicken feet is up a little though.

Meanwhile, another round of tariffs have been added due to "unfair" subsidies for soybeans that give U.S. poultry an unfair advantage. This is totally bogus. About two-thirds of the soybeans China consumes are imported--about half from the United States--and the poultry industry is probably the biggest consumer of the soy meal from those American beans.

Another problem: most of the poultry imports from the United States were chicken feet. Has China figured out how to grow chicken with three feet to meet all that demand for feet?

Guess what happened when the United States tried playing the antidumping card against apple juice and garlice. Virtually no effect--Chinese apple juice and garlic account for most of the market in the United States today.

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