What They’re Saying: United States Wins WTO Trade Enforcement Dispute for American Farmers

“This is a major victory for American farmers.  The WTO panel agreed with the U.S. case that India lacks any scientific basis to restrict U.S. agricultural products, including U.S. poultry products.  Our farmers produce the finest – and safest – agricultural products in the world. This is the fourth major WTO victory the U.S. has announced this year as we continue to unlock economic opportunity for our workers, farmers, and businesses.  This victory affirms the Administration’s commitment to ensuring WTO Members play by the rules, and that America’s farmers, workers and businesses get the fair shot they deserve to sell Made-in-America goods under WTO rules.”
- U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman 

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced that the United States has won a major victory at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on behalf of U.S. farmers, including the U.S. poultry industry.  The WTO dispute settlement panel has found in favor of the United States in a dispute challenging India’s ban on various U.S. agricultural products – such as poultry meat, eggs, and live pigs.  This ruling is the latest of four significant actions taken by the Obama Administration to protect American farmers, and level the playing field for American workers.

Below are reactions to the announcement:

  • USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack: “Our farmers and producers deserve a level playing field – and this dispute reflects that we will accept nothing less. I am pleased that the WTO Panel determined that India’s ban on poultry is inconsistent with its commitments under the WTO SPS Agreement.  USDA will work in close partnership with USTR to ensure that U.S. poultry producers and processors have access to this important market.” [10/14/2014]
  • Sen. John Isakson (R-GA): “This is a great victory for the United States and Georgia poultry, in particular. I have been working to open up India to U.S. poultry since this issue was brought to my attention. I thank USTR, USDA, my colleagues in Congress and U.S. poultry producers for working toward this important decision. I am pleased that the WTO panel affirmed that measures to ensure food safety must be based on science and not a desire to restrict market access. Georgia is the fourth largest poultry-producing region in the world, so this means a great deal to our state economy.” [10/14/2014]
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th): “Today’s announcement sends a strong message that the United States will demand a level playing field for U.S. grown and made products in the international marketplace and that the WTO will not tolerate member countries imposing artificial trade barriers. American agriculture is dependent on access to global markets and a vibrant trade policy. This ruling opens the door for increased market access of U.S. livestock products, including poultry, which plays a key role in Virginia’s economy. I look forward to seeing the positive economic impact of this ruling.” [10/14/2014]
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): “When countries put up baseless barriers to American agricultural products, we need to stand up for strong enforcement of the rules.  Today’s decision is a well-deserved victory for hard-working American farmers across the country.” [ 10/14/2014]
  • Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE): “Today’s ruling is a welcome sign that trade barriers erected by unscientific restrictions on American agricultural exports will not stand. There is still work to be done to open India’s enormous market to American farmers, but this decision has the potential to restore great economic opportunity for them and our country. Agriculture has always been a vital part of Delaware's economy and today about 70 percent of our state’s agricultural exports come from the poultry industry. In recent years we have been successful in addressing China and Mexico’s trade barriers that kept Delmarva poultry out of those important markets and my hope is we’re on our way to doing the same in India.” [10/14/2014]
  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE): “Delaware has long been a global leader in the production of poultry products that adhere to the most rigorous and comprehensive of safety measures. India’s unsubstantiated claims about the risk of avian influenza in American poultry have prevented Delaware chicken-growers from exporting their high-quality products to an important and growing market. Exports play a critical role in the health of America’s poultry industry, making it important that the United States fight the unfair protectionist policies of some of the biggest markets in the world. While today’s WTO ruling doesn’t mean automatic access to the Indian market, it is an important step forward in that fight. Delaware's poultry community is one of the largest employers in the state, providing jobs for thousands of Delawareans and generating billions of dollars for our economy. My seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee affords me a unique opportunity to fight for Delaware’s poultry growers abroad, and I am committed to using that opportunity to help open new markets and increase exports. I will work with the U.S. Trade Representative and my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that this ruling is fully implemented and that these barriers to fair trade are torn down.” [10/14/2014]
  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD): “The best poultry in the world is raised right here in Maryland. Ensuring that our poultry producers have complete access to the global food market is incredibly important to sustaining this very important Delmarva industry.  Thanks to the efforts of USTR, USDA, and Congress, the latest ruling from the WTO strikes down an unfounded ban on U.S. poultry—an important step in ensuring a level playing field for domestic agriculture.” [10/14/2014]
  • Rep. John Carney (D-DE At Large): "This is good news for Delaware. The poultry industry is a critical piece of Delaware's economy, and open markets are key to our farmer's ability to grow their businesses. On behalf of Delaware farmers, I've pushed hard to stop India's unfair restrictions on poultry exports. I'm extremely pleased that a successful resolution has been reached. Delaware is well-positioned to take advantage of India's growing market." [10/14/2014]
  • USA Poultry & Egg Council President James Sumner and National Chicken Council President Michael Brown: “India’s ban was thinly veiled protectionism. This ruling should send a signal to India and other countries that have placed similar bans on U.S. poultry that they are inconsistent with WTO rules and with guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health. Our industry believes that free and fair trade – particularly with food – should never be used as a political bargaining chip. Indian consumers deserve access to affordable and safe protein, which the U.S. has the ability to provide. We thank former USTR Ron Kirk for initiating the complaint against India, and (current) Ambassador Michael Froman for continuing to pursue the case for a favorable outcome.” [10/14/2014]
  • Wall Street Journal: U.S. Scores Win in Poultry-Trade Case With India - The World Trade Organization sided with Washington in the 2012 case, brought after India banned U.S. agricultural products, including poultry, eggs and live pigs, in 2007, blaming the restrictions on concerns about the spread of avian influenza. The WTO panel struck down India’s rules in part because it said the bans “are not based on scientific principles and are maintained without sufficient scientific evidence.” Highly pathogenic strains of bird flu haven’t been detected in the U.S. since 2004, before the Indian ban, U.S. officials said. [10/14/2014]
  • Reuters: U.S. chicken exports to India more likely after WTO ruling - India broke World Trade Organization rules by blocking imports of U.S. poultry and other farm products because of unsubstantiated bird flu fears, a WTO dispute panel ruled on Tuesday, potentially opening up an estimated $300 million a year export market for the United States. India had claimed its import restrictions, imposed in 2007, were justified by international rules on animal health, but the panel agreed with the United States and found that India's measures were not based on international standards and were discriminatory. [10/14/2014]
  • Associated Press: WTO Sides With US Farmers in Dispute With India - United States Trade Representative Michael Froman said a WTO dispute settlement panel had ruled against Indian restrictions on U.S. imports of meat and eggs that were intended to prevent avian influenza from entering that country. The restrictions began in 2007. The United States argued in a 2012 challenge that there was no scientific basis for the restrictions and that they were inconsistent with international guidelines. There has not been an outbreak of high-pathogenic avian influenza in the United States since 2004, officials said. [10/14/2014]
  • Politico: WTO hands U.S. victory on India poultry - The World Trade Organization on Tuesday ruled that India’s ban on poultry and other U.S. agricultural imports to protect against avian influenza violates global trade rules. The settlement panel’s ruling hands the United States its fourth significant WTO win this year. [10/14/2014]
  • Dow Jones: US Scores Poultry-Trade Win in Poultry-Trade Case with India - The U.S. claimed a victory for its poultry producers Tuesday in a trade case involving India's restrictions on U.S. meat over bird-flu concerns. The World Trade Organization sided with Washington in the 2012 case, brought after India banned U.S. agricultural products, including poultry, eggs and live pigs, in 2007, blaming the restrictions on concerns about the spread of avian influenza. [10/14/2014]
  • McClatchy: Game of chicken ends: WTO rules in favor of U.S. poultry - U.S. poultry producers on Tuesday hailed what they called a favorable ruling from the World Trade Organization that they hope will force India to open its large market to American exports. The announcement of the favorable WTO ruling came from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which said a dispute-resolution panel determined that India unfairly blocked U.S. exports of chicken products, meat, eggs and live pigs. [10/14/2014]