US gives India time till June to remove import curbs on poultry

US gives India time till June to remove import curbs on poultry

Local poultry farmers, who fear a sharp dip in business once cheap chicken legs from the US hit the Indian market, have time till June 16, 2016 to brace for the imports, a Commerce Ministry official toldBusinessLine.

1- year timeframe

“We were hoping that the US would allow us 18 months for implementing the WTO ruling on poultry ban, which is the maximum permitted, but after hard negotiations it agreed to give one year,” the official said.

The US argued that it does not take much time for a department to take out the relevant notification and if India wanted, it could make the relevant changes immediately. In November 2014, a dispute settlement panel of the WTO ruled in favour of the US on its complaint that import restrictions imposed by New Delhi on chicken legs and other poultry items, ostensibly to check spread of avian influenza, did not conform to relevant international standards.

India contested the ruling, but the WTO Appellate Body upheld the panel’s findings in January 2015. Following this the dispute settlement body adopted its recommendations and rulings in June 2015.

“We hope the Indian poultry industry has enough time to establish its other allegations that unhealthy practices such as freezing chicken legs for a long time, which gave the US industry a winning edge, flouted international health regulations,” the official said.

Less pricing

Chicken legs from the US could be available in the Indian market at less than half the price at which it is available domestically as there is not much demand for the item in the country, the Indian industry has calculated.

According to various estimates made by poultry associations representing India’s four-lakh-plus poultry farmers, local players could lose between 15 per cent and 40 per cent of their domestic markets once US products start flowing into the market.

Local industry produces an estimated 3.5 million tonnes of chicken every month.

Poultry associations are looking at all practices of the US industry, such as feeding its poultry genetically modified food and keeping the meat frozen for long periods of time, that may not be approved by international quality organisations.

Categories: News & Update