On Tuesday, March 6, 2012 the United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced USTR's decision to request a formal consultation with India regarding poultry imports from the United States.
The announcement follows a bipartisan request headed by Congressmen Devin Nunes (R-CA) and John Carney (D-DE) urging Representative Kirk to make poultry trade with India a top priority. The letter was signed by 46 Representatives.
"I am hopeful the formal consultation process will yield results and appreciate the USTR's commitment to opening the Indian market to U.S. poultry. The Indian government's position is inconsistent with its commitment to the World Trade Organization and must be remedied," said Rep. Nunes.
Currently, India denies access to U.S. poultry citing avian influenza (AI) concerns. However, no distinction is made between low-pathogenic and high-pathogenic AI. The failure to recognize the difference between high-pathogenic and low-pathogenic AI is inconsistent with World Health Organization for Animal Heath (OIE) guidelines and, in the view of Congressman Nunes and other Congressional Representatives in Washington, is a violation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).
The United States is one of the few countries in the world where a comprehensive and rigorous program to prevent, control, and eradicate AI in poultry and prevent the spread to the human population is in-place.