US in trade dispute with China over chickens

US in trade dispute with China over chickens


There are more ruffled feathers over a trade dispute between China and the United States, this time involving broiler chicken.

On Tuesday Washington brought new claims to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that China’s trade duties on US broiler chickens, to stop unfair dumping, violates WTO’s own rules, which both sides have signed up to.

According to WTO rules, countries are allowed to impose trade tariffs if the other country is selling goods for less than what they cost to produce and hurts the industry of the importing country.

The US Trade Representative says China didn’t calculate US poultry production costs correctly and there’s no evidence that American exports have hurt Chinese producers.

Chicken parts often discarded by US consumers
China is not the first country to fear unfair competition and dumping of US broiler chickens. This can partially be explained by the fact that it is rarely whole chickens that are being exported but chicken parts.

Americans eat chicken almost 10 times a month but they overwhelmingly eat white meat, and on less than two of those 10 occasions do they choose chicken legs, thighs, or drumsticks. This leaves American chicken farmers with a dilemma of what to do with the unwanted dark meat. From South Africa to India, there have been complaints that it is this dark meat that is being dumped under-cost to the rest of the world, devastating local chicken industries.

Kevin Lovell, chief executive of the South African Poultry Association, for example, estimates that “in very broad terms, for every 10,000 tons of chicken meat that are imported into South Africa, we lose about a thousand direct and indirect jobs.”

A couple buying chicken in a Chinese supermarket
China’s Ministry of Commerce says it regrets the US action but will resolve the dispute in accordance with WTO processes.

The dispute marks the second time that the US has objected to Chinese trade remedies against US broiler chickens. China lowered its duties on US broiler chickens in 2014 after WTO accepted the US arguments.



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  1. November 24, 2023

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