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WTO panel to probe U.S. ban on Chinese poultry imports
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19:30, July 31, 2009

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) decided on Friday to establish an expert panel to investigate and rule whether a U.S. ban on Chinese poultry imports violates WTO regulations.

The decision was made at a meeting of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, and upon a second request by the Chinese delegation.

"The United State has completely banned the importation of poultry products from China since 2007 through its annual appropriation acts and other related measures," the Chinese mission to the WTO said in a statement.

"These unilateral measures fundamentally violate relevant WTO rules, significantly impede the ordinary Sino-US trade in poultry products, and substantially impair the rights and benefits that Chinese enterprises deserve to enjoy," it said.

"These measures are naked discriminative protectionism measures, which are strongly opposed by the Chinese government and enterprises," it added.

In the statement, the Chinese mission also urged the WTO panel to "review this case in a fair and impartial manner to safeguard the ordinary development of international trade."

"The Government of China is firmly committed to protecting the legitimate rights of the Chinese poultry enterprises to participate in fair market competition under the WTO rules," it said.

China made the first request for an expert panel on July 20, but was rejected by the U.S. delegation according to relevant procedures.

At the heart of the dispute is the U.S. Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, which contains a section prohibiting any funds being used to facilitate imports of poultry products from China.

The act was signed into U.S. law in March, and China filed complaints to the WTO in on April 17.

It usually takes 45 days for a WTO expert panel to be set up, and panelists need at least six months to examine the dispute and give a final ruling.

Source: Xinhua

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