U.S. Files Case with World Trade Organization to Help U.S. Poultry Producers
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today said he welcomes action by the U.S. Trade Representative to challenge onerous duties levied by China on imported U.S. poultry products.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk today filed a case with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China's imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on American broiler chickens and poultry parts. Generally, the case asserts that China did not follow specific WTO procedures and legal standards in determining that United States exporters were unfairly dumping and subsidizing poultry products.
"The action taken by the U.S. Trade Representative is an important first step toward ensuring that poultry producers in Mississippi and across the country are being treated fairly by the Chinese government," Cochran said. "I welcome this action because I know that the steep declines in poultry purchased by China and Russia are aggravating the economic hardships faced by this industry."
The U.S. Trade Representative has requested dispute settlement consultations, the first step in the WTO grievance process, regarding the antidumping duties imposed by China in September 2010 that range from 50.3 percent to 105.4 percent. Since August 2010, the Chinese have also levied countervailing duties that range from 4.0 percent to 12.5 percent.
The United States is challenging the due process and transparency standards used by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, as well as its investigative findings on dumping margins, subsidy rates and injury to the poultry industry in China.
At a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in June, Cochran used the declining U.S. poultry market share with China and Russia to encourage U.S. Department of Agriculture officials to identify measures that could help U.S. poultry producers.
"Feed costs have reached record highs. Exports to countries like Russia and China have seen huge declines in purchasing. Poultry growers face a great deal of challenge in just maintaining their operations and continuing to try to make a living in this important industry." Cochran told USDA Chief Economist Dr. Joe Glauber at the June hearing. "We have to figure out a way to expand into new markets if the old markets are drying up, and to stimulate demand for U.S. livestock products. I hope something specific can come from the Administration in terms of a commitment to join with producers to find a way to restore profitability and predictability for the marketing of U.S. livestock products."
Poultry and egg production in Mississippi was valued at $2.47 billion in 2010, which according to the Mississippi State University's Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine make it the state's top agricultural commodity. Most of that total is based on $2.3 billion in broiler production.
Finally, it has been a little over a year since President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announce an agreement to allow the United States to resume poultry product exports to Russia. That June 2010 accord came after Cochran and 24 other Senators pressured the President to work with Medvedev to reverse Russia's complete ban on U.S. poultry imports.
* Mississippi Poultry Association/Industry Facts: http://www.mspoultry.org/media/docs/MPA_industryFacts.pdf
* U.S. Trade Representative announcement: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/press-releases/2011/september/united-states-files-wto-case-against-china-prote
* U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk speech: