WTO Rules in Favor of China’s Unsanitary Poultry Practices
International Business Times reported on July 29 that the World Trade Organization has delivered a ruling against a U.S. ban on chicken products imported from China. The ruling will force the United States’ market to open up for finished chicken breast exports from China. The WTO’s ruling stated that the U.S. ban was not in accordance with WTO rules and regulations, and any officials concerned with the matter could not disclose further details, citing reasons of confidentiality.
China’s successful appeal to the WTO has forcibly opened up a Chinese poultry industry that is full of deception, lax regulations, and unsanitary conditions.
According to the Globe, each American will eat an estimated 85 pounds of broiler chickens this year. Some quick arithmetic shows that Americans will eat an estimated 12.8 million tons of chicken. That means that over 1 percent of all chicken consumed in the U.S. will originate from China’s dangerous and mostly unregulated poultry industry.
This WTO-forced importation of dangerous goods provides yet another example of the United States’ inability to protect national trade interests. China manipulates its currency, charges tariffs against our imports via both direct tariffs and value-added taxes, prevents foreign investment in China’s state-owned enterprises and steals our technology. We do not even have the right in the international community to block the importation of foods that are well below the standards of our country.
Clearly, the U.S. needs to lead a campaign to have the WTO disbanded, and in the meantime dissolve our own membership, or our interests will continue to be “represented” by international entities that clearly do not have our nation’s best interest in mind.
Once the ruling takes effect, Ma Chuang, deputy secretary-general of the China Animal Agriculture Association, estimates that annual chicken exports to the U.S. will range from 100,000 to 150,000 tons, amounting in value from $500-750 million. Chuang assured that the domestic interests of local U.S. poultry farmers and manufacturers will in no way be affected by the ruling. This assessment by Chuang is clearly in spite of all logic that would assert the contrary.
Diedtra Henderson, of the Boston Globe, writes, “In China, some farmers try to maximize the output from their small plots by flooding produce with unapproved pesticides, pumping livestock with antibiotics banned in the United States, and using human feces as fertilizer to boost soil productivity.”
China’s agricultural system consists of many farmers working one-acre plots as opposed to the many 1000-acre plots worked in America, said Michael Doyle , director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia and former chairman of the FDA’s science advisory board, according to the Globe.
In China, “there are hundreds of thousands of these little farms,” Doyle said. “They have small ponds. And over the ponds — in not all cases, but in many cases — they’ll have chicken cages. It might be like 20,000 chickens in cages.”
It may not be the poultry industry that takes the biggest hit from this, but all American consumers of chicken. When this ruling is enacted and the U.S. is forced to abandon its own laws approved by Congress in favor of a WTO ruling, the American consumer will witness a surge of Chinese chicken imports. Though they may never know (since current regulations do not require stores to label the country of origin on processed meat), many will soon be subjected to purchasing chicken raised via dangerous methods that are banned in the United States for health and safety reasons.