United States wins WTO chicken ruling against China

Chickens at a livestock market in Yunnan province, China.
Chickens at a livestock market in Yunnan province, China.PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA (REUTERS) - The United States largely won a World Trade Organisation ruling on Thursday (Jan 18) that China had failed to comply with an earlier ruling against its punitive tariffs on US broiler chickens.

The ruling means Beijing has failed in a bid to use one of Washington's own favourite trade policy tools - punitive tariffs - against US producers, and will be obliged to lower its tariffs, unless it appeals within 20 days.

The United States originally went to the WTO in September 2011, complaining about Chinese anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs.

China later lowered the tariffs but Washington said it had not done enough to comply.

The initial US complaint followed China's 2010 imposition of anti-dumping duties of up to 105.4 per cent, and anti-subsidy duties of up to 30.3 per cent, on US broiler chicken products.

China lowered the duties in 2014 to a maximum of 73.8 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively after the WTO ruled in Washington's favour.

But the US Trade Representative said they still broke the rules and went back to the WTO in 2016.

By that time, the US Department of Agriculture said US poultry producers such as Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride had lost sales of over US$1 billion.