US seeks talks on Indian ban on American poultryMarch 7th, 2012 - 12:32 am ICT by IANS
Washington, March 6 (IANS) Accusing India of imposing trade restrictions by invoking unjustified animal health concerns to ban American poultry meat and chicken egg imports, US has sought consultations with India before taking the issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“India claims that this trade ban is aimed at preventing avian influenza, but it has not provided scientific evidence in line with international standards on avian-influenza control,” United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk said Tuesday.
Consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process and parties are encouraged to agree to a solution at this stage, he said and “If the matter is not resolved through consultations, the US may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel.”
“India’s ban on US poultry is clearly a case of disguising trade restrictions by invoking unjustified animal health concerns,” he said asserting that “The United States is the world’s leader in agricultural safety and we are confident that the WTO will confirm that India’s ban is unjustified.”
“Opening India’s market to American farmers will promote jobs here at home, while also providing Indian consumers with access to high quality, safe US products,” Kirk said.
Since at least February 2007, India has formally banned imports of various agricultural products from the US, supposedly to prevent outbreaks of avian influenza in India, USTR said.
Over the last few years, the US has repeatedly asked India to justify its claim that a ban on products from the United States is necessary, he said. “To date, India has not provided valid, scientifically-based justification for the import restrictions.”
While the WTO explicitly recognizes member right to adopt regulations to protect human, animal, or plant life or health, it also requires them to take certain steps to ensure that such regulations are not merely a cover for protectionism, USTR said.
“India appears to have acted inconsistently with its WTO obligations in this case,” he said claiming, “In particular, India’s ban does not appear to be supported by scientific evidence or a valid risk assessment.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Tags: agricultural safety, american farmers, american poultry, chicken egg, dispute settlement panel, human animal, import restrictions, india claims, indian consumers, poultry meat, protectionism, ron kirk, s market, trade ban, trade restrictions, united states trade representative, ustr, world trade organization, world trade organization wto, wto dispute settlement