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Senators want challenge to proposed Mexican duties on U.S. poultry

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) are encouraging U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk to challenge new duties proposed by Mexico on imported U.S. poultry.

Cochran and Wicker are among 16 Senators who last week sent a letter to Kirk that states the lawmakers’ concern with antidumping charges levied by Mexico on U.S. poultry, specifically chicken leg quarters. The Mexican government could move to impose duties ranging from 64 percent to 129 percent on imported U.S. poultry as soon as August.

“The poultry industry is a critical segment of the agriculture economy in Mississippi. The antidumping actions proposed by Mexico are contrary to the open market concept written into the North American Free Trade Agreement. I hope our U.S. trade representative will make this case with the Mexican government and preserve market access to poultry produced in Mississippi and other states,” said Cochran, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The senators indicated their desire for Kirk to work with the Mexican government to terminate the antidumping action and to avoid a costly and time-consuming World Trade Organization legal consultation on the case.

The letter to Kirk outlines what the senators claim are flaws in the proposed Mexican antidumping case and stresses the importance of the Mexican market to the U.S. poultry industry, noting the nearly $270 million value of U.S. poultry exports to Mexico. It also warns that the antidumping case could affect other U.S. exports to Mexico.

The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). In addition to Cochran and Wicker, the correspondence was also signed by senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey, Jr., (D-Pa.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

In recent years, Cochran and Wicker have also been critical of efforts by Russia and China to restrict the import of U.S. poultry products.

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