A row has erupted after the World Trade Organisation ordered the EU to slash tariffs on imported salted poultry meat.
Brazil and Thailand had objected to a decision by the EU in 2002 to end low import tariffs for raw poultry meat that had been salted to a level of at least 1.2%.
The change prevented the importation of thousands of tonnes of salted poultry meat for the processing sector. The WTO panel backed claims by Brazil and Thailand that the change was protectionist and called for reinstatement of the low tariff.
AVEC, the European poultry industry’s representative body, has persuaded the European Commission to appeal against the WTO decision. Brazil and Thailand have subsequently lodged a counter-appeal.
British Poultry Council chief executive Peter Bradnock said: “The salting was a subterfuge to pay only about one-seventh of the frozen breast meat tariff. If the decision goes unchallenged, we will have to accept again hundreds of thousands of tonnes of chicken meat to which salt water has been added for no other purpose than to qualify for a reduced tariff, at a time when the FSA is campaigning for reduced salt intake.”