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U.S. Seeks WTO Authorization to Impose Trade Sanctions Against India

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The U.S. has requested authorization from the World Trade Organization to impose some $450 million in retaliatory trade sanctions per year against India for that country’s alleged failure to comply with the rulings and recommendations of the Appellate Body in a dispute involving certain U.S. agricultural products.

The Appellate Body in June 2015 affirmed that a ban India imposed in 2007 on imports of various U.S. agricultural products, including poultry meat, eggs and live pigs, is in violation of WTO rules. India said its ban was meant to protect against avian influenza, but the U.S. argued that (a) the most common type of avian influenza outbreak in the U.S. (low pathogenic) does not warrant import prohibitions and (b) even the outbreaks of high pathogenic avian influenza the U.S. has suffered in the recent past do not justify a ban on imports from the entire U.S. and should be limited to where the outbreaks occur.

The U.S. and India agreed that the reasonable period of time for India to implement the recommendations of the Appellate Body would expire on June 19, 2016. In the view of the U.S., India has failed to bring its measures into compliance with its obligations under the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Since the parties have not reached agreement on compensation, the U.S. is seeking authorization to take countermeasures under Article 22 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding. 

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