China Reopens Investigation Into U.S. Chicken After Losing Case

China will re-investigate U.S. poultry-product shipments for potential violations of trade terms after the World Trade Organization ruled against penalties the government imposed on imports.

It will seek evidence that U.S. white-feather poultry products were subsidized and sold below cost, according to a statement today on the website of the Ministry of Commerce.

While the Obama administration declared victory in August after the WTO ruled China unfairly penalized imports., U.S. products may be charged dumping duties as long as the investigation continues, said Ma Chuang, a partner at animal-husbandry researcher Beijing Boyar Communication Co. Exporters including Tyson Foods Inc., Sanderson Farms Inc., and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. had backed the U.S. case.

The statement from the ministry didn’t comment on further duties. The office of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Export Council in Beijing declined to comment when reached by phone. The U.S. embassy in Beijing was closed for holiday today and the office of U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

China first announced charges on U.S. poultry in August of 2010, according to today’s statement. Sanctions were as high as 105.4 percent, according to China’s commerce ministry. The U.S. filed its WTO complaint against the tariffs in September 2011.

U.S. exports, mostly chicken feet shunned by its own consumers, continued entering China even with the anti-dumping duties, while Chinese poultry couldn’t access the U.S. market, Ma said, who is also a former official at the state-run China Animal Agriculture Association.

China and the U.S. will hold further talks on access for China-produced cooked poultry meat to the U.S., Xinhua News Agency said in a statement dated Dec. 20.

U.S. sales to China in 2010 plunged 85 percent from the previous year before starting to recover, Ma estimated.

— With assistance by William Bi

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