An initial attempt by Beijing to set up a panel was blocked by the EU on 19 June, but on 20 July China made a second request, which, under WTO procedures, had to be accepted.
The WTO will now consider whether the EU should have given Chinese poultry exporters larger import quotas when the European Commission negotiated additional market access for exporters from Brazil and Thailand in 2012.
If the panel agrees with Beijing, the EU would effectively be told to admit more Chinese poultry.
'Extremely limited quotas'
A diplomat from China argued at a meeting of the WTO disputes settlement body that China can “share only extremely limited…quotas” with other WTO member countries.
“This has caused significant damage to the interests of Chinese poultry meat producers and exporters,” said the diplomat.
The EU told the meeting that it had “scrupulously followed the procedures” of the WTO’s general agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT) over the issue.
Additional market access
It stressed that China had not asked for additional market access when it was negotiating with Brazil and Thailand.
Both sides said they hoped to secure a friendly solution, but the EU said it would defend its position “vigorously” before the panel.