October 12,2010

Grassley, Hatch Seek U.S. Action on Chinese Treatment of U.S. Poultry Exports

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Orrin Hatch today asked the Administration to take action to stop China’s discriminatory duties on U.S. poultry products.

Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, and Hatch, the next senior-most Republican, said poultry is the latest example of China’s discriminatory treatment of U.S. products in violation of China’s international trade obligations.

“It’s unacceptable for the Chinese government to play politics with its trade policies, especially in applying its trade remedy laws,” Grassley said.  “China’s economy is too large, and the country’s role in the global economy is too important, for China to disregard its responsibility to uphold the rules of international trade.”

 “As the world’s second largest economy, China has an obligation to play by the same rules as everyone else,” Hatch said.  “The Obama Administration needs to take action to prevent the Chinese from unfairly using protectionist measures to hurt American companies.”

The text of the senators’ letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk follows here.

October 12, 2010

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

The Honorable Ron Kirk
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20508

Dear Secretary Vilsack and Ambassador Kirk:

As the two most senior Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee, we have long been concerned about the growing trend of the Chinese government to impose measures that limit market access for imports and advantage Chinese companies at the expense of U.S. firms.  China’s so-called “indigenous innovation” policy, its tolerance of rampant theft of U.S. intellectual property, and its efforts to condition market access on technology transfer are only a few of the discriminatory Chinese practices that are straining U.S.-China economic relations. 

The latest aspect of this growing problem is China’s protectionist misuse of its trade remedy laws.  China’s baseless application of antidumping and countervailing duties on U.S. grain-oriented electrical steel is one example that the United States is challenging at the WTO.  And most recently, on September 27, China announced the imposition of prohibitive antidumping duties on imports of U.S. poultry products.  Like the steel duties, the poultry duties – as well as the countervailing duties that China imposed on poultry products earlier this year – are plainly inconsistent with China’s WTO obligations and threaten to cause serious harm to the U.S. poultry industry.

We welcome statements that the Office of the United States Trade Representative is considering whether to challenge the poultry duties at the WTO.  However, given reports that China initiated its poultry investigations in retaliation for the U.S. imposition of tire tariffs under section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974, and given that the same motive underlies the ongoing Chinese antidumping and countervailing duty investigations involving U.S. autos, simply filing a WTO case is not enough.  China is one of the major beneficiaries of the global trading system, and it needs to understand that the abusive application of its trade remedy laws is increasing tensions and further undermining our bilateral relations.

We request, therefore, that you seek high-level consultations with the Chinese government to explain the negative effects of its actions and to ask more specifically for the withdrawal of the antidumping and countervailing duties on poultry.  We also ask that you contact our offices expeditiously to discuss the Administration’s next steps.


Charles E. Grassley               Orrin G. Hatch