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U.S. files WTO case against EU over poultry restrictions

The U.S. government said on Thursday that it has asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel regarding the European Union's (EU) restrictions on imports of U.S. poultry.

The U.S. Trade Representative Office (USTR) said in a statement that it 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 U.S. and European food safety authorities is consistent with the EU's WTO obligations."

"The U.S. 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 in the statement.

"We regret that formal WTO consultations and significant U.S. engagement over many years have not resulted in the lifting of the EU's ban on the import and marketing of poultry," he continued. "However, we feel that we must move forward with WTO dispute settlement panel proceedings at this time."

The U.S. government complained that in 1997, the EU began prohibiting the use of PRTs to reduce microbe levels on poultry carcasses sold in the EU, stopping the shipment of virtually all U.S. poultry.

Following a review of the formal consultations held on Feb. 11,as well as other discussions with EU officials, the United States said it has concluded that it is time to bring this issue before a WTO dispute settlement panel.

Requesting a panel is the next step in the formal WTO dispute settlement process. The WTO Dispute Settlement Body will consider the U.S. request at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 23.

 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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