Indo-U.S. poultry dispute

Indo-U.S. poultry dispute

Context: The settlement of complex disputes during litigation, or broadly ‘litigotiation’, was key to solving the long pending Indo-U.S. poultry dispute. It was a seven-long outstanding trade dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO).


• In 2012, the US challenged India’s import restrictions on poultry products from the U.S. due to avian influenza or bird flu.
• This is one of the oldest sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures related to disputes of the WTO.
• The U.S.’s primary contention was that India failed to provide scientific justifications.
• WTO Appellate Body ruled in favour of the US. Subsequently, India was given a year to modify or withdraw its inconsistent measures.
• The U.S. later alleged that India had failed to meet obligations and filed a retaliation claim at the WTO.
• In response, India filed its counter-dispute to establish that its revised measures conformed with WTO rules. Over the past decade, both parties have mainly kept these disputes abeyant.
• In fresh negotiations, India has dodged a yearly $450 million claim. India has agreed to reduce tariffs on select products such as berries, frozen turkey & premium frozen duck meat destined for luxury hotels.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement)

• It entered into force with the establishment of the World Trade Organization in 1995.
• It concerns the application of food safety and animal and plant health regulations.
• The SPS Agreement explicitly permits governments to choose not to use international standards.
• They should not arbitrarily discriminate between countries with identical or similar conditions.
• Harmonisation: The SPS Agreement encourages governments to establish national SPS measures that are consistent with international standards, guidelines, and recommendations.
• The WTO itself does not and will not develop such standards.

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