Friday, February 05, 2010

A Game of Chicken

It's time for another round of tit for tat.

After my first year in China, the government imposed new restrictions on visas for Americans (among others). Americans were charged more than other nationalities for visas, and the multiple-entry and long-term tourist visas were eliminated. The reasoning was that Chinese citizens had difficulty obtaining US visas and the price was higher than for other nationalities. Of course, that didn't bother me much because I didn't have to pay for my visas through work (though obtaining Jia's US visas were difficult).

Now, because the US imposed dumping tariffs on Chinese-made tires, China is now doing the same for US chicken parts. I already knew that the US exported large quantities of frozen chicken feet to China, but I didn't realize chicken wings were also included (I thought Americans ate enough Buffalo wings to keep those parts at home).

The article claims that the feet and wings are "virtually worthless" in the US. As I've never seen chicken feet for sale at the major grocery stores, I would agree with that statement. However, wings are usually sold in packages for about 99 cents a pound, which is cheaper than other parts of the chicken, but more expensive than chicken leg quarters.

The article also states that individual companies can appeal the tariff, thus significantly reducing it for that particular company. Therefore, larger companies like Tyson will have lower tariffs on their chicken parts. I'm not sure if this is standard practice in such situations, but what would happen if every chicken part importer appealed the government's ruling?

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