United States wins WTO chicken ruling against China

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States largely won a World Trade Organization ruling on Thursday that China had failed to comply with an earlier ruling against its punitive tariffs on U.S. broiler chickens.

The ruling means Beijing has failed in a bid to use one of Washington’s own favorite trade policy tools - punitive tariffs - against U.S. 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 U.S. complaint followed China’s 2010 imposition of anti-dumping duties of up to 105.4 percent, and anti-subsidy duties of up to 30.3 percent, on U.S. broiler chicken products.

China lowered the duties in 2014 to a maximum of 73.8 percent and 4.2 percent respectively after the WTO ruled in Washington’s favor. But the U.S. Trade Representative said they still broke the rules and went back to the WTO in 2016.

By that time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said U.S. poultry producers such as Tyson Foods Inc and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp had lost sales of over $1 billion.

“China expresses regret over the WTO ruling,” the country’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement late on Thursday.

It added that China would assess the WTO report and carry out “follow-up work” in accordance with WTO rules.

Reporting by Tom Miles, and Muyu Xu in BEIJING, editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Richard Pullin