US drops appeal over WTO ruling on Chinese cooked chicken importation

19:41, October 26, 2010      

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The US allowed a World Trade Organization (WTO) condemnation of US restrictions on imports of cooked chicken to stand Monday by deciding not to appeal a ruling by experts in a complaint brought by China.

Parties to WTO disputes often appeal initial rulings, dragging out the case for months or years.

But in this case the United States already had dropped the measures that China objected to - a ban imposed by the US Congress in a spending bill preventing the US authorities from taking steps to process imports of Chinese chicken.

At a meeting of the WTO's dispute settlement body, the United States did not object to the adoption of the ruling published on September 29, a participant in the meeting, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

The dispute was one of several roiling US-Chinese relations. China had responded to the original US ban by imposing duties on US chicken imports.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk has declared that enforcement of international trade rules is a centerpiece of US trade policy.

Like many trade disputes, this one originated over concerns about food safety - a consumer concern easily abused for protectionist purposes.

The US had banned imports from China and some other Asian countries after outbreaks of bird flu in 2004, but the spending ban - imposed after a series of food scares in China - meant that Chinese cooked chicken could not enter the United States in practice even after imports formally were allowed.

China argued that the reasons for the US measures were unscientific, a claim backed by a WTO panel of experts.

Source: Global Times


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