U.S. seeks WTO dispute settlement panel

Dec. 9, 2011 at 12:12 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The United States has asked the World Trade Organization for a dispute settlement panel on China levying duties on imports of U.S. poultry products.

Under WTO procedures, the U.S. request for such a panel is the next step in the year-old dispute with China. The two sides failed to resolve it during the consultation process in October.

The issue relates to China slapping anti-dumping and countervailing duties on U.S. chicken "broiler products," claiming these items were "dumped," meaning they were subsidized, the U.S. Trade Representative office said on its Web site. Prior to these actions by China, the United States said it was the largest exporter of broiler products to China, but since then, its exports have fallen by nearly 90 percent, the office said.

"The United States will not stand idly by while China appears to have misused its trade remedy laws and put American jobs at risk," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said. "We are serious about holding China accountable to its WTO commitments and ensuring that there is a level playing field for American businesses – including our farmers."

The United States said in imposing duties, Chinese authorities failed to abide by applicable WTO procedures such as finding injury to China's domestic industry without objectively examining the evidence. The U.S. request said Chinese authorities improperly calculated dumping margins and subsidization rates and failed to adhere to various transparency and due process requirements.

China's Commerce Ministry said its steps on the duties are in accordance with WTO rules and laws, China's official Xinhua news agency reported. The ministry said U.S. producers had received improper government subsidies, thus hurting China's domestic industry.

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