January 26 is the deadline for India to appeal against a 2014 ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that required India to open its doors to poultry imports from the United States.

Indian placed a ban on U.S. poultry in 2007 under the guise of preventing low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI), but produced no scientific evidence to support the ban’s validity.  In March 2012, the United States, via the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative,  requested consultations, refuting India’s claims that LPAI will mutate into a highly pathogenic form of the virus..  Subsequently, the WTO established a panel to look into the matter.  In November 2014, the WTO ruled that India broke the rules by banning imports of U.S. poultry because of unsubstantiated avian influenza fears and required India to lift the ban.

Under WTO rules, India had 60 days to appeal the ruling and has already requested time until January 26 to consider an appeal against the WTO ruling.  If India does file an appeal, which seems likely, the WTO’s appellate body must issue a new report within 60 days.  India maintains that there is still a persistent danger of avian influenza as well as growing concerns over food safety, including the use of antibiotics in the United States in food animal production.  India has also noted the use in the United States of  genetically modified feed leading to concerns in India over imports of GM-fed poultry products from the United States. These concerns could be cited in a possible appeal to the WTO.