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Another Barrier to U.S.-China Chicken Trade Knocked Down

Few, if any, U.S.-born chickens are going to be getting on a boat or plane for processing in China unless and until the little matter of tariffs totaling more than 135 percent goes away. And that may now be occurring, according to U.S. trade experts.

U.S. exports of 613,000 metric tons of broiler meat to China just four years ago collapsed by more than 90 percent after the People’s Republic of China (PRC) imposed the high tariffs. But, last week, it was U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman who was doing the victory dance.

That’s because the World Trade Organization adopted the findings of its dispute settlement panel favoring the U.S., ruling that the duties on U.S. chicken “broiler” products violates international trade rules.

China now must bring itself into compliance with its WTO obligations. Four years ago, those who speculate about international trade actions said China’s imposition of the duties on U.S. chickens was likely retaliation for action taken against China’s so-called “dumping” of tires into the American market.

It was said then that while chickens and tires have little, if anything, to do with one another, there are so few categories of trade where the U.S. sells more than China that the PRC’s retaliation options were limited.

Four years later, China might be looking at chicken trade with the U.S differently. USDA just reaffirmed an earlier finding that China’s poultry inspection system is “equivalent” to its own and gave the green light to four Chinese processing plants to process cooked chicken for export to the U.S. so long as the live chickens are raised in the U.S., Canada or Chile.

Ambassador Froman said the WTO decision calling an end to the high tariffs is “a significant victory for American farmers and chicken producers and proves that the United States will not stand by while our trade partners unfairly hurt U.S. exports and U.S. jobs.”

He said China is accepting the decision without appeal, signaling that the PRC is taking a serious look at its trade remedies regime for chicken.

“China’s prohibitive duties caused a steep decline in exports of high quality U.S. broiler products to China, and with today’s news from the WTO, we look forward to seeing China’s market for broiler products restored for U.S. farmers and chicken producers,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

China’s Ministry of Commerce imposed the anti-dumping and countervailing duties on U.S. “broiler products” on Sept. 27, 2009. Broiler products include most chicken products except for live chickens and cooked and canned chicken. Duties were imposed on U.S. producers who cooperated with China’s anti-dumping investigation at rates from 50.3 to 53.4 percent, and for 105.4 percent for all others. The countervailing duties ranged from 4 to 12.5 percent for cooperating U.S. producers, and 30.3 percent for all others.

Two years later, the U.S. requested settlement consultations with China that were not successful, but that cleared the way for U.S. claims to be heard by the WTO. According to Froman, the WTO ruling favors the U.S. on nearly all claims.

The bottom line should be more normal chicken trade between the two nations.

© Food Safety News
  • Charity Swift

    I don’t know. Those devilish Chinese are not like us. They don’t speak clear English and they probably are unclean. We all know how foreigners produce devious toxic foods and stuff. I have the right to know if any food is coming from those icky foreigners. No one else should eat that food either because I don’t trust any of it and I want the world to be a safer better place. That is difficult with so many ethnic countries around the globe. We must ban it or tax it. I am kept awake nights keeping people safe with everything I know about risky exposure to foreign things. Everyone has the right to know if something is not what they are used to so they know when to be afraid. I cannot tell them every little time so they have the right to know.

    • Ms. Wright

      All that mamby-pamby “embrace cultural diversity” rhetoric of the last decade was only feel-good talk — everyone secretly knew that. Deep in our heart of hearts we naturally mistrust and dislike cultures different from our own. Too bad Archie Bunker made it socially unacceptable to discriminate publicly. We had to be all politically correct and keep it all bottled up inside until the foodie movement came along. And just in the nick of time — we were about to explode from keeping mum on our petty social elitism. Now we are freely encouraged to voice our discriminatory opinions so long as we keep them cloaked in the food movement. I don’t like fat people and now I am encouraged to berate and bash them at every opportunity. I especially like scolding fat people, that really makes me feel trendy, smart and important. I don’t like capitalism and now I am encouraged to defile and curse large successful businesses. I applaud the really brave haters who vandalize business property. I don’t like Asians and now it is the trendy thing to spread unfounded gossip about how Chinese are dirty dastardly evil-doers plotting to poison our school children. OMG, this is sooo cathartic. Thank goodness the foodie movement came along to nurture the elitists and closet bigots of this land. And all condoned by the new public health bureaucracy! It is a fine time to be alive in America!!

  • msps

    Gross and disgusting! At least I don’t eat prepackaged/pre-prepared food of that sort at any time, so I won’t be eating any very OLD and not reliably safe Chinese prepared chicken. I hope others decide to review their diets for healthier choices, which should rule out chicken that’s traveled to China and back for processing. Even if one believes that the Chinese food safety system is equivalent to ours, which I do not, how old will that old chicken be and how long frozen, re-frozen…?UGH! The thought of it kills my appetite.

  • aineotter

    China has a poor record with pet food; we had the melamine contaminated dog and cat food here that killed and sickened pets in the US, and melamine also made it’s way into milk products for children and babies in multiple countries in Asia. Right now, we still see pet illness connected to consumption of chicken jerky dog treats made in China. I wish I was more convinced that the food safety inspection process in China was adequate, but right now, I’m not. I think this decision was made by politicians brokering a trade deal, not considering the actual safely of the food supply.

  • flameforustice

    Even chicken processing up to U.S. standards is unsafe and I wouldn’t and don’t eat or feed to anyone.