Isakson: WTO ruling a major win for poultry farmers

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled Tuesday in favor of the United States in a dispute challenging India’s ban on various U.S. agricultural products – such as poultry meat, eggs and live pigs – allegedly to protect against avian influenza, according to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.

The panel agreed with the United States that India’s ban breached numerous international trade rules, including because it was imposed without sufficient scientific evidence.

For more than seven years, India has imposed import restrictions on various U.S. agricultural products, particularly poultry meat, eggs and live pigs, purportedly to prevent entry of avian influenza into India. The United States, however, has not had an outbreak of high pathogenic avian influenza since 2004. The United States has consistently explained to India that, as reflected in relevant international standards, there is no scientific basis to ban imports of U.S. agricultural products, according to Isakson.

“This is a great victory for the United States and Georgia poultry, in particular,” Isakson, the ranking member on the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, said in a statement. “I am pleased that the WTO panel affirmed that measures to ensure food safety must be based on science and not a desire to restrict market access. Georgia is the fourth largest poultry-producing region in the world, so this means a great deal to our state economy.”

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