The United States has reportedly decided not to file an appeal from a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that its ban on Chinese poultry imports, imposed in 2004 upon fears of an avian flu outbreak, was illegal. According to a news source, this ends the trade dispute. While the legislative ban expired within five years, under current U.S. law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cannot allow poultry imports unless the foreign country’s food safety procedures are deemed equivalent to those used in the United States. A 2009 appropriations bill included this provision despite lobbying by U.S. trade organizations against it. See FoodNavigator-USA.com, October 27, 2010.
Meanwhile, WTO has apparently decided to open to the public the second hearing on a complaint filed by Canada and Mexico, challenging the U.S. promulgation of country-of-origin labeling for cattle and hog imports. The parties reportedly requested an open hearing, which will take place December 1-2, 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. See meatingplace.com, October 25, 2010.