Home / Politics / Policy /  India loses WTO dispute over bird flu curbs on US poultry

Geneva: India broke World Trade Organization rules by blocking US poultry imports because of unsubstantiated bird flu fears, a WTO dispute panel ruled on Tuesday.

India had claimed its import restrictions were justified by international rules on animal health, but the panel agreed with the United States and found that India’s measures were not based on international standards and were discriminatory.

The United States brought the case in March 2012, with the US poultry industry confident the case would open a market for exports then conservatively valued at $300 million.

In India, which could appeal against the ruling, the trade ministry declined to comment.

A senior official at the ministry, who declined to be named, said the government would study the ruling and a decision on appeal against the decision could be taken after getting the view of Animal Husbandry department.

The ruling could increase imports of poultry products from the United States, although India could still try to restrict them using other measures such as anti-dumping duties if US exporters tried to sell their products at unfairly cheap prices.

Otherwise, India is bound to provide fair market access to other countries under the WTO rules.

In July, India blocked a global trade deal that the WTO hoped would restore its role as a forum for negotiating world trade rules after two decades of inertia, and it has continued to resist US pressure to remove its veto. Reuters

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