Thursday, 22 December 2011

Senators urge U.S. Trade Rep. to open India to American poultry

Maryland and Delaware’s Senators are among 19 Senators urging the U.S. Trade Representative to encourage India to adopt scientifically based trade policies that would allow American poultry in.
India has had trade policies since 2006 that don’t conform to those of the World Organization for Animal Health standards on avian influenza.

In a letter, the Senators have asked Trade Representative Ron Kirk to explain to the Indian government the benefits of bio-security measures implemented in this country, and how using non-scientifically based trade policies is no longer acceptable. The National Chicken Council estimates that U.S.poultry exports to India could top $300 million a year.

Senators Coons, Carper urge USTR to boost poultry exports in negotiations with India 

India’s ongoing restrictive trade policies are hurting the Delaware economy 
WASHINGTON – In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Wednesday, U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper (both D-Del.) led a bipartisan group of 19 senators in urging the Office of the United States Trade Representative to resolve longstanding, non-scientifically based policies during Kirk’s upcoming meeting with India’s senior government leaders. 

Since 2006, India’s trade policies have not conformed to the scientifically based World Organization for Animal Health standards on the viral disease avian influenza (AI). American poultry producers adhere to these globally recognized standards of food production. 

“Despite the United States’ track record on AI and the very effective measures in place for AI, India continues to use this non-scientifically based position to prohibit U.S. poultry to access the Indian market,” the Senators wrote. “With two of the United States’ top poultry markets having been severely disrupted in the past three years, it is especially important that efforts be undertaken to replace them. The National Chicken Council estimates that U.S. poultry exports to India could exceed $300 million annually if appropriate, fair market access was provided in accordance with India’s obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization.” 

“We respectfully request that during your upcoming discussions with the government of India, you strongly explain the important biosecurity measures that have been implemented in the U.S. and that the continued use of non-scientifically based measures to prevent trade is unacceptable.” 

According to a study released earlier this year by the University of Delaware, poultry production and processing accounts for the largest share of Delaware’s $8 billion agriculture economy, at $3.2 billion. Last year, Delaware exported $111.5 million worth of chicken and chicken products across the globe. The industry is a leading employer in Delaware, supporting more than 13,000 jobs in Kent and Sussex County. 

In addition to Senators Coons and Carper, the letter was signed by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Joe Manchin, III (D-W.Va.), Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Webb (D-Va.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kay R. Hagan (D-N.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), John D. Rockefeller, IV (D-W.Va.), James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Mark. R. Warner (D-Va.)

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