U.S. poultry shippers came a step closer to possibly breaking Indian restrictions on their exports after Ambassador Ron Kirk requested on Monday that the World Trade Organization establish a dispute settlement panel.
India says that its import restrictions are aimed at preventing the entry of avian influenza, while the U.S. contends the rules don’t mesh with scientific finding, international guidelines and Indian domestic standards. Despite India's restrictions, U.S. poultry exports rose 14 percent in volume and 27 percent in value in the first quarter from the same period a year ago, according to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service.
“It is essential that U.S. farmers obtain the reliable market access that India agreed to,” said Ambassador Kirk. “The United States holds its agriculture industry to the highest standards of safety and is confident the WTO will agree that there is no justification for India's restrictions on U.S. exports.”
The U.S. and India consulted on the disagreement in mid-April, but the talks didn’t produce a resolution. The removal of Indian trade restrictions could boost U.S. poultry exports by at least $300 million annually, according to a statement by the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council.