US/India ready to bring poultry dispute to WTO
The US and India are ready to face each other at the World Trade Organisation over a poultry import ban imposed by New Delhi, a Commerce Department official has said.
“Both countries had sought the establishment of dispute settlement panels in the middle of last year, but things got delayed due to disagreements over who would be included in the panels,” the official told Indian media outlet, The Hindu. The panels have to be approved by all countries to assure neutrality.
The poultry panel is to determine if India can continue its ban on cheap chicken legs from the US citing the risk of avian influenza.
A Ministry official stated that India has used the last few months “productively’’ to further strengthen its arguments. “The Animal Husbandry Department is working on risk assessment studies on individual products to further strengthen our case for banning poultry from countries affected by bird flu,” the official said.
The US, which is batting for its domestic poultry industry that sees a market worth $300 million in India, has argued in preliminary discussions with India that its measures are inconsistent with the relevant science, international guidelines and the standards India has set for its own domestic industry.
While the US is currently allowed to export poultry to India, it is not able to ship anything as India’s strict avian influenza regulations increase the risk of import curbs and importers don’t feel confident to place long-term orders.
It is thought that the Indian poultry industry will be hit badly if the US starts exporting its cheap chicken legs as it would drive down prices drastically.
Source: Business Line
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