In comments jointly filed yesterday with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the National Chicken Council, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, and National Turkey Federation expressed their strong support for USTR’s action via the World Trade Organization (WTO) to have India remove its non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. poultry and related products.

India for far too long has unfairly prohibited poultry from the United States and its excuse that U.S. poultry poses an avian influenza risk to Indian poultry flocks cannot be justified by science, the comments explained.  U.S. poultry presents essentially a zero danger to poultry flocks in India.  India continually has outbreaks of highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), whereas the United States has not experienced HPAI in commercial chicken flocks for decades.

The market potential for U.S. poultry exports to India could exceed $300 million annually if access was free and fair.  With India’s growing middle class devoting more of their discretionary income to animal protein products, U.S. poultry should be provided an opportunity to compete for this expanded demand.

Submitted with the comments were the letters to Ambassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, from 47 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 19 U.S. Senators.  These letters urged USTR to take the WTO dispute settlement action against India.

On March 6, 2012 USTR did, in fact, take the recommended action by notifying India that the U.S. government was requesting official consultations on the issue.  If consultations fail to resolve the issue and U.S. poultry exports to India remain prohibited, NCC, USAPEEC, and NTF urged USTR to move quickly to the next step in the WTO dispute settlement process, that it, establish a three-person panel to hear the case and render a decision on the merits of the case.  The organizations expressed their continued willingness to support USTR throughout the process and noted their appreciation for the work so far to achieve a successful outcome.

To view the comments in their entirety, click here.