Global trade ruling is good news for Delaware chicken farmers

(Gillian Wong/AP Photo, File)

(Gillian Wong/AP Photo, File)

The Delaware poultry industry is hoping to see a positive change following a trade ruling between China and the United States over poultry exports.

The World Trade Organization recently ruled that Chinese tariffs issued on the exports of U.S. chicken “broiler products” are unjustified. Since the barriers were implemented in 2009, American exports have dropped 80 percent, according to the National Chicken Council.

China had charged U.S. exporters for anti-dumping, a penalty issued on unusually low-priced imports and for countervailing or subsidizing exports.

Broiler products pertain to most chicken products, except for cooked or canned chicken meat or live chickens.

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The anti-dumping duties ranged from 50.3 percent all the way up to 105.4 percent and the countervailing duties ranged between 4 percent and 12.5 percent.

“It was estimated that in 2009 when China imposed these duties, the U.S. chicken industry, the broiler industry, has lost about a billion dollars worth of exports to China during that time since 2009,” said Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council. “We estimate that Delmarva, not just Delaware, is about 4 percent of the industry in total U.S. broiler production.”

He said that equals out to about $40 million in revenue loss for the region.

China has 60 days to appeal the decision to the World Trade Organization, and Super said the country could drag the case out another two to three years.

Although it could be a while before the region sees any change, Super added that the U.S. exports one out of every five pounds of chicken produced and the WTO victory sends a powerful message to other trade countries.

“One of the things we hope for our members and farmers and processors to know is that this ruling sends a clear signal to these countries that would think of imposing these unfair duties on our industry [and] that we’re committed to the enforcement of the rules, we play by the rules and we expect everyone else to do the same,” Super said. 

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