China is currently the largest market for U.S. chickens, and this week imposed anti-dumping duties of up to 105.4 percent on imports of American poultry products.
The measure would inevitably heighten the tension between the two countries—especially after U.S. Internet giant Google Inc. recently stopped censoring search results within China and last year, the Obama administration slapped import tariffs on Chinese-made tires.
The Chinese Commerce Department stated that it would start the tariffs on Feb. 13 on the eve of the Lunar New Year celebrations. China began an investigation into U.S. chickens last September, seemingly as a knee-jerk reaction to the United States imposing tariffs on Chinese tires.
According to Time.com, half of all Chinese chicken feet imports are from the United States.
The tax imposed will mainly affect export of U.S chicken wings and feet to China, considering these items are treated as a delicacy (particularly in the Southern regions). Due to the differences in the cultural preferences, the price sold to China could be relatively higher than that in the U.S.
Given that that chicken feet are sold at higher prices to the Chinese, it did not make sense for there to be any grounds for dumping or sold below cost. The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said that the American poultry industry was "deeply disappointed" by China's move, according to Reuters.
However President Barack Obama this week vowed to get tough in dealing with complaints that U.S. exports are disadvantaged by China's artificially cheap currency, drawing a rebuke from China that its currency was set at "reasonable" levels.
Hong Kong will cap its chicken imports from China to 7,000 a day leading up to the Chinese New Year despite demand being higher during the festive season, said the Special Administrative Region (SAR)’s Food and Health Bureau in a statement.
These concerns were raised due to the H1N1 epidemic in China, with confirmed reports in the Southern city of Shenzhen as recent as November 2009 according to New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV).
“The flu is everywhere in primary and secondary schools,” a staff member from Shenzhen Bao’an People’s Hospital told NTDTV. “As soon as one person gets infected, the whole class gets infected. Hospitals run out of wards. It is like it was during the SARS epidemic,” he added.