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WTO Panel Rules in Favor of U.S. in Poultry Dispute with China

On Aug. 2 the WTO Dispute Settlement Body issued a panel report in favor of the United States in a long-standing trade dispute with China over imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on U.S. poultry exports. More details are available from the WTO website. USTR has also issued a news release and press statement.

As recently as 2009, China accounted for about 20 percent of U.S. poultry export volume at nearly 740,000 mt. Exports to China slumped badly in 2010 and 2011 – averaging only 138,000 mt – before bouncing back somewhat in 2012 (287,944 mt). Fueled in part by avian influenza outbreaks in China, 2013 exports have climbed back to pre-2010 levels with volume through May reaching 367,799 mt.

But the significance of Friday’s WTO ruling extends well beyond the effort to rebuild U.S. poultry exports to China. If the Dispute Settlement Body had ruled in China’s favor, an important precedent would have been set that would have provided China and other trading partners with a legal basis for claiming in the WTO that the U.S. beef and pork industries derive an unfair benefit from corn and soybean subsidies. Therefore, the ruling has significance for several sectors of U.S. agriculture.