China’s ministry of commerce has extended for another five years countervailing (anti-subsidy) duties that have been charged on US imports of broiler chicken products.
The duties, which range between 4% and 4.2% depending on the US exporter, have been imposed over claims Washington subsidises its chicken exporters at a level exceeding US commitments made at the World Trade Organization.
A Chinese commerce ministry paper argued the support came through public crop insurance programmes; direct payments to producers; and a price fall protection plan.
Countervailing duties had originally been imposed in 2010 and were due to expire on 30 August. All US chicken meat exporters are covered by the duties, but the ministry’s schedule highlights some big names, such as Tyson Foods, which faces duty of 4.2% and Sanderson Farms, at 4.1%.
The ministry announcement said if the duties had been allowed to lapse, subsidised US chicken exports to China would mean “damage to China [producers] is likely to continue or recur”.
In May, Washington turned to the WTO for the second time over the duties Beijing places on US chicken broiler products. In 2013, a WTO panel found in favour of the US’s claims the duties breached trade rules. Washington says China revised the duties a year later but argues the country is still in violation of WTO rules.
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Speaking to just-food in the wake of China’s announcement the duties will continue, the National Chicken Council and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, two industry associations, said: “We are disappointed in this announcement, especially in light of the fact that the WTO has consistently and comprehensively found that China’s countervailing and anti-dumping duties violated its WTO obligations. Despite those decisions, China has still refused to remove these duties. The US government has reasonably tried to work with China since then to resolve this matter consistent with the WTO dispute settlement panel’s decision, but China’s continued failure to abide by the ruling and to meet its obligations is unacceptable.”