The American poultry industry has urged U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk to pursue a World Trade Organization (WTO) action against European Union rules that effectively block American poultry from the European market. The EU bans U.S. poultry that has been processed using chlorinated water, which helps control potentially pathogenic microorganisms and is considered safe and effective by U.S. authorities. The EU adopted its policy in 1997 after other barriers to U.S. poultry began to fall under the pressure of trade liberalization. The industry estimates that the policy prevents it from developing a market in Europe worth about $240 million for chicken and $60 million for turkey and duck.

In a letter to Kirk's agency, the George Watts, president of the National Chicken Council (NCC); Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation (NTF), and James H. Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) wrote:
"The injustice against U.S. poultry has continued for far too long, and it is time to begin correct that injustice. [We] encourage USTR to fully and resolutely pursue the dispute settlement process.

"The EU has not been able to demonstrate nor justify why the use of [pathogen-reducing treatments] is not scientifically acceptable and why a politically expedient decision should be acceptable. Pursuing resolution of the issues through the WTO dispute settlement process may not only prove to restore U.S. poultry exports to the EU but, equally important, will promote and reinforce the critical WTO principles that address the international rules of trade and will provide for a more predictable and fairer opportunity for agricultural exports to participate in the world market."
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