U.S. moves WTO against India

Category: WTO Sub-category: World Trade Organisation
Document type: news

18-May-2012 | 9:55 IST | Edited by: Sharmila Maitra

The U.S. has approached the World Trade Organization (WTO), requesting a dispute settlement panel to decide the American claims regarding Indian restrictions on imports of various U.S. agricultural products, including poultry meat and chicken eggs, were discriminatory.

The U.S. has, however, approached the WTO after its talks with India have failed to resolve the dispute between the two countries.

U.S. officials argue that the measures are inconsistent with the relevant science, international guidelines, and the standards India has set for its own domestic industry.

India, on the other hand, asserts that its measures are aimed at preventing entry of avian influenza.

The U.S. had requested formal consultations with India on March 7. Moreover, India held consultations on April 16-17, without the resolution of the matter.

According to the U.S. officials, the WTO's Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) that explicitly recognises the WTO Members has the right to adopt measures to protect human, animal, or plant life or health.

In addition, the USTR officials argue that India appears to have acted inconsistently with its obligations under the SPS Agreement.

India, on the other hand, has mentioned that the import restrictions were intended as precautionary measures against the spreading of avian influenza. Moreover, it says, it has the right to impose import restrictions on imports from countries with low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) outbreaks.

Further, the US claims that the restrictions are discriminatory and violates international trade guidelines set by the WTO.  

Trade bodies like the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council welcomed the US move to approach the WTO on the issue.

If India's trade barriers were eliminated, the industry said it estimates conservatively that the value of US poultry exports to India each year would surpass $300 million.