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US requests WTO panel on EU restrictions

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the US has asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel regarding the EU's restrictions on imports of US poultry.

The US has asked the panel to review whether the EU’s ban on the import and marketing of poultry meat and poultry meat products processed with pathogen reduction treatments (PRTs) judged safe by US and European food safety authorities is consistent with the EU’s WTO obligations.

“The US poultry subject to the EU ban is safe. There is no scientific evidence that the use of pathogen reduction treatments pose any health risk to consumers,” said Nefeterius McPherson, a USTR spokeswoman. “We regret that formal WTO consultations and significant US engagement over many years have not resulted in the lifting of the EU’s ban on the import and marketing of poultry. However, we feel that we must move forward with WTO dispute settlement panel proceedings at this time.”

Requesting a panel is the next step in the formal WTO dispute settlement process. The US and the EU held consultations on 11 February.

Reports state that US poultry companies and organizations have applauded the action. In a joint statement from the National Chicken Council, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, and National Turkey Federation, the companies applauded US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and his staff for pursuing the case and USTR will have their "strong and enthusiastic support" moving forward.

Source: Feedstuffs.com

Natalie Berkhout

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