US poultry Imports: India likely to challenge WTO ruling

India is likely to challenge the World Trade Organsiation’s order to lift ban on the United States poultry imports

By Sai Nikesh D

If the sources have to be believed upon, the Government of India is in consultations with the stake -holders with an aim to protect the Indian poultry sector from the ready-to-arrive US poultry.

“We are ready with our argument and will be filing an appeal in a day or two to the appellate body. We are expecting an improvement in the dispute settlement panel decision, which will help us in future,” one of the government officials was quoted to have said, according to sources.

We are committed to protect the industry with huge employment potential and are looking at various measures to that effect. We have had a meeting with the poultry industry and breeders in this regard, the official added, say the sources.

The Commerce Ministry has also asked the poultry breeders to work on the risk assessment factors. One of the Ministry officials was also quoted to have told the sources that that the Ministry is going to challenge the WTO ruling soon, but has to be prepared for a possible negative outcome. As a process, the poultry industry was also asked to work on the factors pertaining to the health risks.

The World Trade Organization had passed its ruling asking India to appeal against the imports of US poultry by January 26, 2015, giving it as a last date for appeal.

India, with an annual production of chicken to around 3.5 to 4.0 million tons, is the fourth largest in the poultry sector after the US, China and Brazil. If the imports of the US poultry are allowed, then the Indian domestic poultry sector will have to face a severe competition in view of the prices.

Besides this, the major concerns are about the spread of avian flu or Bird Flu, which has been more from the US poultry sector, according to the global markets. Because of this, the United States had earlier faced ban from India in 2007 and also from the other global nations in recent times.

Earlier in 2014, Russia ordered two bans on imports of poultry from the United States in August and December, in view of growing spread of Avian or bird flu concerns in Europe. Lately, in the last week, China also ordered for a ban on US poultry imports.

Now, it’s the time to wait and see what India will say over the imports of poultry from US, as the last date i.e. January 26, 2015 is fast approaching. This turns a hot topic with the President of the United States Barack Obama arriving in India on the day, on the occasion of the Republic Day.

This article was published in The Dollar Business on January 20, 2015

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