`India yet to provide scientific justification on poultry ban`

Washington: A top Obama Administration official has said US was yet to receive a "scientific" justification from India over New Delhi`s ban on imports of certain American farm products, including poultry meat and eggs.

"Over the last few years, the United States has repeatedly asked India to justify its claim that a ban on poultry products from the United States is necessary.

"However, to date, India has not provided valid, scientifically-based justification for the import restrictions," US Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack said.

Vilsack also welcomed the decision by US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, to drag India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the ban.

Kirk said US was requesting consultations with India under the dispute settlement provisions of the WTO concerning the prohibition on certain American agricultural exports.

"Today`s announcement by Ambassador Kirk that US government is seeking consultations with India under the dispute settlement provisions of the WTO demonstrate that the United States will help ensure that all of our trading partners play by the rules and uphold their WTO obligations," Vilsack said.

He hoped for a swift resolution allowing Indian consumers access to "safe, high-quality" US poultry and poultry products, and restore the economic opportunities "our American farmers have earned".

Since at least February of 2007, India has formally banned imports of various agricultural products from the US, as a precautionary measure to prevent outbreaks of avian influenza in the country.

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