The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), National Chicken Council (NCC) and National Turkey Federation (NTF) applaud announcement by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk that the United States will initiate dispute settlement proceedings against India before the World Trade Organization (WTO) to challenge its longstanding prohibition on the import of U.S. poultry.
For years, India has used a variety of non-tariff trade barriers to deny access U.S. poultry to the Indian market. Although international health standards, in particular those of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), identify only highly pathogenic stains of avian influenza as warranting trade restrictions, India has long ignored those international norms and has banned poultry imports from the United States or any country that reports any incident of avian influenza, even cases of low pathogenicity. This is a protectionist policy that is inconsistent with accepted international standards, and has no health or safety justification. This policy is particularly problematic in the case of the United States, which is the most efficient poultry producer in the world and the world’s leading exporter of poultry products.
Despite being one of the 23 founding countries of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), (an organization founded in 1948 that has now become known as the WTO), India has done as little as any nation to open its border to trade or to abide by multilateral trade rules.
By conservative estimates, if India’s trade barriers were eliminated, the value of U.S. poultry exports to India each year would surpass $300 million.
“In our view, India’s posture is thinly guised protectionism,” USAPEEC President Jim Sumner said. “The Indian economy is growing rapidly, as is its standard of living and its consumption of poultry. It is projected that India will soon be the world’s most populous country, and its people must have continued access to an ample supply of affordable protein.”