Yesterday we began our visit with Chief Ag Trade Negotiator, Isalm Siddiqui who has been leading, along with USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse a 40-member trade delegation in China this week. Among the many issues discussed with Chinese trade leaders has been poultry:
Siddiqui: “We continue to work on the poultry issue, along with the other issues we have with China. If you recall we were doing great in terms of poultry exports until China began their antidumping and countervailing investigations against the US poujtry exports. Of course, we disagreed with their investigation and their conclusion, and that is why the USTR filed a complaint in the World Trade Organization against China, and we are hoping we will prevail. And this is consistent with the Obama Administration policy to try to negotiate and resolve these differences diplomatically, but if we fail, then we will not hesitate to go and enforce our WTO rights in the World Trade Organization.”
SFN: Of course, it takes quite some time for a case to move through the WTO, meanwhile we’re sitting on freezers and freezers of poultry here in the US.
Siddiqui: “I agree that yeah, there’s been a significant reduction in poultry exports, but, still, last year, Rhonda we exported about $250 million of poultry products to China, in 2011. Of course, we’d like to see that number go up, but then, we continue to help the poultry industry to in the markets, like reopening Russia about year and a half a go, If you recall. Russian market was closed to us on some sanitary issues, we were able to reopen that market, and of course we continue to work on similar issues around the globe.”
SFN: Speaking of lumber now, North Carolina is okay for the Chinese, but South Carolina and Virginia lumber is not. What’s up with that?
Siddiqui: “We…USDA and USTR, continue to work, as a matter of fact in our previous visits to China, we have raised this issue, there is a team of Chinese exporters which is coming to visit the locations on the eastern seaboard, where we are allowed to ship, and we are hoping that we’ll be able to resolve this issue. So, we continue to give very high priority… I met with the Secretary of Agriculture of Virginia and I told him this is a very high priority for USDA and USTR to resolve this issue. And I hope this team…I know that they’re definitely going to be in Virginia, but, I would find out if they have other plans to visit South Carolina as well, right now I don’t know. But, this issue is the same as the pinewood nematode issue which is one of the quarantine issues in China.”
We’ll wrap up our visit Ambassador Islam Siddiqui tomorrow on Today’s Topic.