Monday, November 29, 1999

WTO rules against US ban on Chinese poultry products

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K J M Varma Beijing, June 17 (PTI) China won the dispute with the US over a ban on its poultry imports after the World Trade Organisation ruled the American curbs on Chinese poultry were violating international trade laws, says a media report. State newspaper, China Daily said in a report the US ban violated Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Agreement, that mandates how governments can apply food safety, animal and plant health measures, as well as most-favored-nation treatment and general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided under the WTO framework. As per WTO regulations US can appeal against the decision, but in case of it losing the appeal, the ruling will be considered as the final verdict. The US move is not in line with the principles of the MFN treatment since the ban only targeted China, Zhang Liying, professor of international law at China University of Political Science and Law told the China Daily. The majority of experts on the WTO panel handling the dispute ruled in favor of China, said the report in the China News Service. China had filed an appeal with the WTO in April 2009, to protest against a key clause in a US law, which prohibited Chinese exports of poultry. It argued section 727 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, signed into US law in March 2009, violated the rules of the world trade body. The law, which stipulated no government funds were to be made available for establishment or implementation of a rule allowing imports of poultry products from China - was deemed a de facto ban on Chinese poultry products. According to Zhang, the US government has been annually revising the law for several years and even though the contentious 2009 law has ceased to exist, clarification is required if the WTO ruling will be binding on its successor, section 743 in Act 2010. "We think the US will not try to impose a similar ban in the next fiscal year, since it would be regarded as open defiance of the latest WTO ruling," a Chinese Ministry of Commerce official who received the WTO ruling order said. The latest WTO report will force the US to comply with free trade rules and restrict its discriminatory actions against China, which is significant given the growing number of trade disputes between the world''s two major traders, she said. Cheng said the development had bolstered China''s confidence in the multilateral trading system.

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