US files trade dispute over EU poultry import laws

October 9th, 2009 - 12:38 am ICT by IANS  

Geneva, Oct 8 (DPA) The US Thursday asked the World Trade Organisation to rule on a European Union (EU) ban on US poultry treated with chemicals.
The US contends the EU ban does not comply with international trade rules, saying methods used in the country which involve chemicals are safe.

“The US poultry subject to the EU ban is safe. There is no scientific evidence that the use of pathogen reduction treatments pose any health risk to consumers,” said Nefeterius McPherson, spokeswoman for the US trade representative.

In Brussels, spokeswoman Lutz Gullner said the EU “regrets” the US decision to go for arbitration and request the establishment of a WTO dispute panel.

“We feel that litigation is not the most appropriate way to deal with complex issues such as this one,” Gullner said in a statement.

EU rules say slaughterhouses can use only water or other specifically approved substances to rinse meat products, as part of its hygiene regulations.

“We regret that formal WTO consultations and significant US engagement over many years have not resulted in the lifting of the EU’s ban on the import and marketing of poultry,” said McPherson.

“However, we feel that we must move forward with WTO dispute settlement panel proceedings at this time.”

The dispute between Washington and Brussels has been ongoing since the late 1990s.

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