Agri Business

Despite revision, US questions India’s poultry import rules

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 30, 2016

bl24-agri-blggi+BL24_AGRI_KOOZHI.jp.jpg

New Delhi says its revised measures comply with WTO ruling

India has not been able to satisfy the US with its implementation of the World Trade Organisation’s ruling on poultry import restrictions, despite bringing about a second round of revision in rules to address Washington’s concerns.

“The US, at the latest meeting of the dispute settlement body (DSB), said India’s measure to check bird-flu may still be substantially more trade-restrictive than the one based on recommended international standards. It also accused the country of not cooperating fully on the matter,” an official privy to the discussions told BusinessLine.

Washington also did not withdraw its request to the WTO for authorisation to impose a retaliatory fine of $450 million annually against India.

India refutes

New Delhi, however, asserted that the disputed measures were no longer in force. It said that its revised package of measures complies with the DSB ruling as these recognised disease-free areas.

“India has expressed disappointment at the recent DSB on the US raising the issue again. This is despite the fact that the country is engaging with it in good faith,” the official said.

The WTO had, last year, ruled against India’s decision to ban poultry imports from the US and other members to protect the country from low pathogen avian influenza (bird flu), upholding a US claim that the restriction did not have any scientific justification. Because of the restrictions, the US has not been able to export chicken legs — which could take up a big portion of India’s domestic market for poultry meat.

Revised terms

India brought out a new notification this August as per which, avian influenza and the areas affected by it would henceforth be defined on the basis of the definitions provided in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The OIE is an international standard setting body on animal health, recognised by the WTO.

The US, however, complained to the DSB in the previous meeting that the new measures didn’t seem sufficient to meet all its concerns. India revised the guidelines on September 19 and specified that the import restrictions would be area or zone-specific. This means that if there is an outbreak of avian influenza in a particular zone of the exporting country, shipments would be allowed to continue from other unaffected areas.

“India has done all it could to appease the US. The country should be more flexible in its attitude,” a Commerce Ministry official said.

The US told the DSB that it would continue working with India to reach a resolution to the dispute. It, however, added that it had no idea that India was coming up with a revised notification on September 19 and it would be difficult to work together if India failed to communicate what it intended to do.

The WTO had, last year, ruled against India’s decision to ban poultry imports from the US and other members to protect the country from low pathogen avian influenza (bird flu), upholding a US claim that the restriction did not have any scientific justification.



Published on October 30, 2016
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor