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WTO to Decide If Indian Curbs on U.S. Poultry, Eggs Legal

The World Trade Organization agreed to investigate Indian restrictions on U.S. poultry meat and eggs and decide whether the curbs break global commerce rules.

India has prohibited imports of various U.S. farm products since at least February 2007, saying the ban is needed to prevent the spread of low-pathogenic avian influenza. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s office accuses India of ignoring scientific evidence while the Department of Agriculture says low-pathogenic bird flu causes “minor illness, poses no risk to human health and sometimes manifests no clinical signs.”

The U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council, which estimates the value of poultry-product exports to India could exceed $300 million a year, has called the curbs a “protectionist policy that is inconsistent with accepted international standards, and has no health or safety justification.” India’s import policies affect mostly poultry meat as the country is a net exporter of eggs, according to the council.

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