The credit crunch and the decline in global trade have given fresh impetus to US president Barak Obama’s administration to get US chicken into the EU market.

The new man in charge, US trade Ambassador Ron Kirk, made his intentions clear in his recent taking-office address.

“With global trade flows declining for the first time since 2001, endangering US and European jobs, we should redouble our efforts to solve bilateral problems that impede trade between us.

Among the options being considered was a World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement panel to review the EU ban on the import and marketing of poultry meat and poultry meat products, processed with “certain pathogen-reduction treatments” [such as chlorine-enriched water] to see if it is consistent with the EU’s WTO obligations, public affairs official Nefeterius McPherson told Poultry World.

“US poultry meat suppliers have been shut out of the EU market for more than 11 years, during which time, EU imports of poultry meat have increased significantly. If this issue is resolved we are confident that a number of US companies would be successful in exporting to the EU market,” said. Miss McPherson.

However, EU officials point to the unanimous rejection by EU agriculture ministers to the lowering of the import ban on chlorine-washed poultry carcasses.

The council judgement stresses the high level of health protection given by EU legislation and the need to keep out poultry processed using chlorinated dioxide, that could mask poor hygiene practices and pose risks to the environment and the health of staff and sewage systems.

“Basically, this means that it is the end of the matter,” said an EU spokeswoman.