Last week, the United States filed a dispute claim through the World Trade Organization against China alleging that its duties on imports of American chicken products breach China's WTO obligations. Dave Salmonsen, AFBF senior director of congressional relations, explains the dispute and what will happen next. Miranda McDaniel reports….
The United States is claiming that China’s import duties on chicken imports appear inconsistent with WTO rules. The US filed a dispute settlement claim against China last week. American Farm Bureau’s Dave Salmonsen says that since China enforced these duties in august and September of 2010, American poultry farmers have felt the backlash…”it’s had an impact. The duties range from 50% to 100%, and since that time, a market for US poultry that was approaching a billion dollars a year is now down to about a hundred million dollars a year. The US is saying that the duties aren’t properly calculated, and the methodology behind them is flawed, and they violate several portions of the WTO agreement.
China believes that they were being dumped, that the exports were hurting their domestic industry, so they added these duties in a sense to slow down imports which of course, it has done.” Salmonsen says this is not the only trade issue America is having with China…”when you trade a lot, issues come up, frictions come up, each side thinks one side isn’t playing fairly by the rules. And so they bring these cases to try to get this clarified. In this case, of course, it’s a fairly straight-forward issue of ‘we don’t like the fact that these duties are hurting our exports to China.’
Overall, there’s several other issue areas where we’re having discussions, may not rise to the level of bringing a WTO case; but there’s continued discussions going on between the US and China over beef exports, still lingering issues from eight years ago where they stopped our beef imports because of the BSE issue. We’re exporting a lot of pork to China, but we could do a lot more. But, China also has some limitations on our pork exports. They also have issues to our exports of some grain.”
He says that despite this China is still an important market for the US...”in a sense the case highlights what’s been a growing relationship with US agricultural exports and China. China is now our number one ag export destination at almost $20 billion a year, has been growing rapidly over the last several years, while the case is important in itself, it’s also a piece of a much bigger agricultural picture between the US and China.”
In 2009, the latest numbers that are available, North Carolina exported $478.3 million worth of chicken parts and products, and poultry comprisses 26.4% of farm cash reciepts for the state.