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U.S. files chicken trade case against China with WTO

The United States has filed a case in the World Trade Organization over China’s threat to impose duties on imports of American chicken parts, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said today at a news conference.

China found that American broiler products had been sold at less than fair value (i.e., “dumped”) into the Chinese market as well as subsidized, USTR said, but the agency is concerned that China failed in its WTO obligations to observe numerous transparency and due process requirements, properly explain the basis for its findings and conclusions, incorrectly calculated dumping margins, incorrectly calculated subsidy rates and made unsupported findings of injury to China’s domestic industry.

Before the imposition of these duties, the United States was China’s largest chicken broiler products supplier with more than 600,000 metric tons of products exported in 2009. Since the duties have come into force, U.S. exports to China are down 90 percent and the industry will have lost approximately $1 billion in sales to China by the end of this year alone, USTR said.

The National Chicken Council and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said they appreciated the willingness of Kirk and his staff to pursue the case.

Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., praised the filing, saying it could protect up to 300,000 American jobs.

“China has repeatedly broken its commitments as a fair trading partner under international trade rules,” Stabenow said. “These unfair practices have serious and devastating implications for the U.S. economy and American agriculture.”