Following the US request for the establishment of a panel to adjudicate on the dispute with India over a ban on the import of certain poultry products, Reuters reports that India has also requested for the establishment of a panel in a dispute against the US over certain countervailing duty imposed by the latter on steel products imported from India (noted previously here). This certainly seems to be another episode in the saga of tit-for-tat disputes actions at the WTO. If that be the case, in addition to China, the US is now active on a second front (of course, there are many differences between the actions and motivations of India and China).
USTR Ron Kirk has announced that the United States will request consultations with India under the WTO dispute settlement procedures over India’s import prohibition on poultry meat and chicken eggs. India’s reason for this trade restriction seems to be the prevention of avian influenza. The United States, however claims that it has not provided scientific evidence in line with international standards on avian-influenza control. Under the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, if consultations fail to resolve the differences a WTO panel may be composed to adjudicate the matter. Kirk goes on to note that
India’s ban on U.S. poultry is clearly a case of disguising trade restrictions by invoking unjustified animal health concerns. The United States is the world’s leader in agricultural safety and we are confident that the WTO will confirm that India’s ban is unjustified.
We are extraordinarily frustrated with India’s continued non-application of internationally recognised scientific standards. Our American poultry, it is safe. There is no reason for them to deny us access,
As noted previously, India has also commenced a dispute against Turkey. This makes it one each as a complainant and a respondent.
Update: Shortly after the above USTR notification, the WTO confirmed that the United States has initiated the dispute formally.
Update 2: I was going through the website of the Indian DG for Foreign Trade, and I believe that the measure being challenged by the US may be a notification issued by the Min. of Commerce in March 2007. The notification prohibits imports of certain birds, and products deriving from them, based on the risk for Avian Influenza (both highly pathogenic and low pathogenic strains). The notification is available here.