By Tom Miles and Charles Abbott
GENEVA/WASHINGTON Aug 2 The United States won a
long-running trade dispute with China on Friday when the World
Trade Organization found Beijing had broken global rules by
imposing anti-dumping duties on U.S. chicken broiler parts.
The U.S. complaint, first raised in September 2011, was
widely seen as one of a string of tit-for-tat disputes between
the world's largest economies, and followed a U.S. ban on
imports of Chinese cooked chicken.
The ruling could be a boost to U.S. poultry exporters. The
U.S. complaint cited damage done to exporters like Pilgrim's
Pride, Tyson Foods Inc and Keystone Foods, a
brand held by Brazil's Marfrig Alimentos SA.
An official with the U.S. Trade Representative's office
estimated that the United States has lost about $1 billion in
broiler product sales since the duties were imposed by China in
Since 2010 the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has had
anti-dumping duties on Tyson, Keystone and Pilgrim's Pride
ranging from 43.1 percent to 80.5 percent, and a "weighted
average" duty of 64.5 percent on imports from 32 additional U.S.
"China's prohibitive duties on broiler products were
followed by a steep decline in exports to China - and now we
look forward to seeing China's market for broiler products
restored," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at a
The United States had been the largest exporter of broiler
products to China, but the duties cut its exports by some 80
percent. U.S. chicken exports to China in 2012 were 95,000
tonnes valued at $113.5 million.
China has 60 days to appeal. "We're going to press China to
re-open the market," a USTR official said in a technical
briefing on the case.
China's Ministry of Commerce suggested it would explore
possibilities for an appeal and said both Beijing and Washington
had points of view that could win the support of experts.
"China will conduct a serious evaluation and conduct
follow-up work according to dispute resolution procedures," the
ministry said in a statement on its website on Saturday.
Both sides, it said, "have some viewpoints that could win the
support of the panel of experts," a reference to dispute panels,
made up of independent trade experts.
China and the United States have had a series of trade spats
at the Geneva-based WTO.
Beijing first said it might impose the chicken duties in
September 2009, just weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama's
decision to slap an emergency 35 percent tariff on Chinese-made
tires to stop a market-disrupting surge.
China challenged the tire tariff at the WTO, and lost.
Within a week of the United States saying it wanted to litigate
the broiler dispute, China slapped anti-dumping duties on more
than $3 billion worth of U.S. cars. Those duties are now the
subject of a separate WTO complaint by the United States.
U.S. Trade Representative Michel Froman said he hoped the
latest win would "discourage further violations" of the WTO rule
"This decision sends a clear message that the Obama
Administration can fight and win for American farmers,
businesses, and workers in the global trading system," Froman
China had justified its duties on chickens by saying U.S.
imports were unfairly subsidized and dumped on the Chinese
market, causing material injury to China's domestic industry.
But the United States challenged the "opaqueness" of how
China conducted its anti-dumping case, including the
calculations it used to conclude whether or not U.S. chicken
was being sold at a fair price in China.
The trade group's panel found that China's basis for finding
dumping was "flatly inconsistent with WTO rules," the USA
Poultry and Egg Export Council said in a statement.
"The WTO agrees with the U.S. argument that China had
arbitrarily calculated costs, and from there allowed itself to
impose anti-dumping duties," the USTR official said.
China's Ministry of Commerce did not immediately comment on
the WTO ruling.