Thursday, June 17, 2010

China wins WTO poultry case

A 2009 U.S. appropriations bill contained language forbidding USDA from spending any funds to facilitate import of Chinese poultry to the United States. USDA had previously conducted a series of inspections of Chinese poultry plants and concluded that the plants had adequate safety measures in place and could export processed poultry products from a handful of approved plants to the United States. (The poultry meat however could not come from China; it would have to be imported from a country certified to be free of disease issues.)

The appropriations bill blocked the implementation of USDA's approval by refusing to allow any funds to be spent to facilitate import of Chinese poultry. China complained to the World Trade Organization about the restriction in the appropriations bill and an article appearing on many Chinese news sites today says that the WTO found in favor of China.

Here is a Dimsums translation of the article:

China wins WTO case against U.S. restrictions on poultry meat
June 16, 2010, China News Network

Sources say that on June 16 China won its case against U.S. limits on poultry. This is the first time China challenged U.S. legislation and its first successful challenge. Experts here said it was significant, “U.S. Congress cannot just act arbitrarily.”

Yesterday, an interim report on China’s WTO challenge of U.S. poultry limitations was released. The report found U.S. limits on poultry to be in violation of WTO rules related to plant and animal quarantine. It also was found to violate WTO most favored nation provisions and elimination of quantitative restrictions.

The U.S. limitation on Chinese poultry was in the 2009 appropriations law which forbade government spending to implement regulations facilitating import of Chinese poultry, which amounts to a ban on Chinese poultry that is still in place. On April 17, 2009, China took the dispute to the WTO for resolution.

The case is now in the experts’ evaluation stage, if the U.S. refuses to accept the finding, it can appeal. If U.S. does not appeal, the experts group report will be become final.

U.S. Congressmen often find fault with the trade policies of other countries, making irresponsible remarks accusing them of violating WTO rules, even advancing some ridiculous measures, intervening in other countries’ internal affairs. Experts here said that WTO challenges to US laws are common, but few are successful. China’s complete victory on its first challenge of U.S. law is very rare.

No comments: