In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk last week, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) led a bipartisan group of 18 senators in urging the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to resolve longstanding, non-scientifically-based Indian policies during Kirk’s upcoming meeting with that country’s senior government leaders. Since 2006, India’s trade policies have not conformed to the scientifically based World Organization for Animal Health standards on avian influenza (AI).  American poultry producers adhere to these globally recognized standards of food production.

“Despite the United States’ track record on AI and the very effective measures in place for AI, India continues to use this non-scientifically-based position to prohibit U.S. poultry to access the Indian market,” the Senators wrote.  “With two of the United States’ top poultry markets having been severely disrupted in the past three years, it is especially important that efforts be undertaken to replace them.  The National Chicken Council estimates that U.S. poultry exports to India could exceed $300 million annually if appropriate, fair market access was provided in accordance with India’s obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization.”

“We respectfully request that during your upcoming discussions with the government of India, you strongly explain the important biosecurity measures that have been implemented in the United States and that the continued use of non-scientifically-based measures to prevent trade is unacceptable,” the letter said.

In addition to Senators Coons and Isakson, the letter was signed by Senators Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Daniel Coats (R-IN), Joe Manchin, III (D-WV), Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Webb (D-VA), John Boozman (R-AR), Kay R. Hagan (D-NC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), John D. Rockefeller, IV (D-WV), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), and Mark R. Warner (D-VA).  To view the letter, click here.