The World Trade Organization on Thursday rejected an appeal from India regarding a previous dispute on the country's ban on U.S. poultry, meat and eggs.
The appeal was of an October WTO decision that agreed with U.S. claims that India's ban breached trade rules and was imposed without scientific merit.
The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and National Chicken Council commended the decision.
"Indian consumers deserve access to affordable and safe protein, which the U.S. has the ability to provide," the groups said in a joint statement. "We hope that the Indian administration will comply with the ruling and will be amenable to working with the U.S. government and industry to remove all restrictions and allow access for U.S. poultry in the near future, which we estimate would be $300 million a year once India's restrictions are removed."
India placed a ban on U.S. poultry in 2007 on the grounds that it would prevent low pathogenic avian influenza, but provided no scientific evidence to support the ban. In response, USTR initiated consultations in 2012, refuting India's claims that LPAI will mutate into a highly pathogenic form of the virus.
"Today's announcement by the WTO affirms what we've said all along - India's ban was thinly veiled protectionism. This ruling should send a signal other countries that have placed similar bans on U.S. poultry that they are inconsistent with WTO rules and with guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health," the groups said.
The decision is especially timely as U.S. poultry farmers struggle with highly pathogenic avian influenza, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "This is a major win for U.S. agriculture and, in particular, the U.S poultry industry," he said. "This decision serves to encourage USDA's efforts to maintain open markets for U.S. poultry based on international standards."