UPDATE 2-US senators assail China’s ‘abusive’ poultry duties

* Senators accuse China of abusing anti-dumping laws

* Say quicker solution is needed than WTO case

* Senior US trade official, senator in China this week
(Adds detail throughout)

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (BestGrowthStock) – Two senior Republican
senators on Tuesday urged the Obama administration to ask China
to withdraw duties on U.S. poultry they said were part of a
larger pattern of unfair trade practices by Beijing.

“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,” Senator Charles
Grassley and Senator Orrin Hatch said in a letter to top U.S.
trade and agriculture officials.

U.S. poultry producers complain they are the victims of
unjustified Chinese retaliation because of President Barack
Obama’s decision last year to slap a 35-percent duty on tire
imports from China at the behest of a U.S. union group.

China protested Obama’s tire decision as protectionism and
has challenged it at the World Trade Organization.

U.S. officials say it was legal under an anti-surge import
safeguard provision of China’s WTO entry agreement.

Last month, China’s Commerce Ministry set final duties
ranging from 50.3 percent to 105.4 percent on poultry imports
from the United States, hitting companies including Tyson Foods
(TSN.N: ), Pilgrim’s Pride (PPC.N: ) and Sanderson Farms (SAFM.O: ).

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has been considering
challenging the duties at the WTO, but Grassley and Hatch said
the case required a more immediate solution.

CHINA’S CURRENCY STRAINS TIES

“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 anti-dumping and countervailing
duties on poultry,” the senators said.

They also accused China of initiating anti-dumping and
countervailing duty investigations against U.S. autos in
retaliation for Obama’s tire decision.

China recently won a case at the WTO against U.S.
restrictions on imported chicken from China.

The United States says it is taking steps to comply with
the ruling, including an evaluation of whether the imports can
be allowed under U.S. food safety laws.

The poultry dispute comes at a time when U.S. frustration
with China’s currency policy is straining bilateral ties.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives approved
legislation that would allow the United States to impose
punitive duties on imports from countries with “fundamentally
undervalued” currencies, a bill aimed primarily at China.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis is
scheduled to be in Beijing on Wednesday to prepare for this
year’s U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.

That high-level forum to discuss ways of boosting trade
between the two countries is now expected in mid-December,
having been delayed at least once amid current frictions.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus also planned
to raise concerns about China’s currency and trade practices on
a trip this week to Shanghai and Beijing.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Todd Eastham)

UPDATE 2-US senators assail China’s ‘abusive’ poultry duties