There seems to always be something brewing with international trade. The United States and India have had a long-standing disagreement about India’s policies on U.S. exports, especially agricultural products.
If an agreement can be worked out for a second time with the World Trade Organization acting as a mediator, U.S. agricultural products will be able to access this previously closed market.
This mediation process has been hampered by India not fulfilling its end of the bargain after working out a deal with the U.S. at the World Trade Organization in Geneva earlier in the year.
It is estimated the exports of poultry alone would be valued at at least $300 million each year. Obviously this will have huge implications for the poultry industry in Georgia.
For years, India has used a variety of nontariff trade barriers to deny U.S. poultry access to the Indian market.
Although international health standards — in particular those of the World Organization for Animal Health — identify only highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza as warranting trade restrictions, India has long ignored those international norms and has banned poultry imports from the U.S. or any country that reports any incident of avian influenza, even cases of low pathogenicity.
This is a protectionist policy that is inconsistent with accepted international standards, and has no health or safety justification. This policy is particularly problematic in the case of the U.S., which is the most efficient poultry producer in the world and the world’s leading exporter of poultry products.
Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears biweekly on Thursday’s Business page and at gainesvilletimes.com.