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Remarks by United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk Announcing Action against China with Regard to Poultry

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk

Announcing Action against China with Regard to Poultry
Washington, D.C.
September 20, 2011

* As Prepared for Delivery *

“I’m here to announce that the Obama Administration is once again taking action to hold China accountable for commitments that it made when it joined the World Trade Organization ten years ago.

“Today’s action pertains to what we believe is China’s wrongful imposition of trade remedies against U.S. chicken products. It’s a case that has implications for an estimated 300,000 American farmers and workers throughout the U.S. poultry supply chain.

“Specifically, today the United States is requesting consultations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to challenge antidumping and countervailing duties against U.S. chicken products that we will show are inconsistent with WTO rules.

“USTR General Counsel Tim Reif will provide you with legal details about the case in a moment, so let me offer a few general thoughts about why we are taking this action.

“From day one of the Obama Administration, we’ve been clear that when it comes to enforcement and China, we have one simple request of our Chinese partners: ‘live up to the promises you made when you joined the WTO.’

“Since President Obama took office, this Administration has taken action to hold China accountable on tires, steel, industrial raw materials, electronic payment services, wind power, chickens, and the list goes on and on.

“In every one of these cases, the key principle at stake has been that China must play by the rules to which it agreed when it joined the WTO, including commitments to maintain open markets on a non-discriminatory basis, and to follow rules-based procedures in a transparent way.

“Let me be clear: the United States does not arbitrarily seek disagreements with China. Nor is it our desire to be disagreeable.

“In fact, we always prefer to settle disputes with negotiation rather than litigation. We’re interested in getting results that work as quickly as possible.

“But we won’t negotiate indefinitely, because U.S. farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and workers can’t afford to wait when their exports are being blocked and American jobs are at stake.

“That’s why President Obama and I have been very clear that we will not hesitate to fight for every American job, every dollar worth of U.S. exports, and every chance for American producers to compete that depends on having a level playing field in China.

“Ten years ago, the United States supported China’s effort to join the WTO based on China’s promises to behave responsibly, because we recognized the tremendous benefits of trade between both consumers and producers in two of the world’s largest economies.

“Today, we continue to believe that two-way trade with China works for the American people when we insist that China lives up to its commitments, plays by the rules to which it has agreed, and maintains a level playing field for American producers to compete.

“As with every enforcement action, our goal here is to get real results for American exporters and support American jobs that depend on trade, including as many as 300,000 poultry industry jobs potentially affected in this case.

“Now I’d like to turn it over to Tim Reif, who will provide you with additional details. Thank you.”