China to scrap US broiler duties following WTO debate

By Keith Nuthall

- Last updated on GMT

China to scrap US broiler duties following WTO debate

Related tags: World trade organization, International trade, Wto

China has said it will scrap the anti-dumping and countervailing duties it has been imposing on broiler product exports from the United States, following a long World Trade Organisation (WTO) battle over the issue.

It told a WTO meeting on Wednesday (28 February) that while it noted a January ruling of the WTO appellate body had criticised some US challenges made during the disputes proceedings over the issue, it accepted the basic ruling that the duties broke global trade agreements.

As a result, said a China statement to the WTO, on 27 February its ministry of commerce had “issued an announcement to terminate the anti-dumping and countervailing duties on broiler products from the US”. ​This, it said, was “in keeping with its respect for international law and WTO treaties”​.

Beijing contrasted this behaviour with the US’ continued refusal to block a selection process to fill vacancies on the appellate body, a policy consistently followed by the Trump administration, in opposition to calls from more than 60 WTO members for these appointments to start as soon as possible.

Without them, appeals against trade dispute panel rulings, such as this broiler dispute, will take longer to complete. At yesterday’s meeting of the WTO disputes settlement body (DSB), the US said it “was not in a position to accept​” this proposal. In its statement, China invited “the US to make efforts in maintaining the WTOs dispute settlement system”​.

However, commenting on its apparent victory in the broiler case, a USA statement said: “That news is welcome. We are in the process of reviewing this information. The United States looks forward to the prompt restoration of market access for high-quality US chicken products”.

In a ‘pot calling the kettle black’ response to China’s criticism of American perfidy at the WTO, Washington claimed that China had abused the disputes process by dragging out its acceptance of the original WTO panel ruling against the duties – which was made in 2013. Since then, a series of rulings and failures by China to comply with them have seen the duties remain in place, said the US: “Regrettably, China chose to continue the duties through a re-investigation process that contained significant procedural and substantive deficiencies,”​ said the statement.

It said the appellate body’s “comprehensive findings support the view of the United States – that China should never have imposed the duties, let alone continued them for years following the original WTO findings”.

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