China lifts four-year ban on US poultry imports
15 Nov 2019 --- China has made a decision to lift its four-year ban on poultry imports from the US, signaling new trade opportunities for North American chicken. The ban was first enforced by China in 2015 following an outbreak of avian influenza, which has since been the focal point of trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington DC. The announcement comes at the heels of a protein shortage in China resulting from African swine fever, which has led to the culling of millions of hogs in the past year.
“The US welcomes China’s decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on US poultry and poultry products. This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” says US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer.
“China is an important export market for America’s poultry farmers and we estimate they will now be able to export more than US$1 billion worth of poultry and poultry products each year to China. Reopening China to US poultry will create new export opportunities for our poultry farmers and support thousands of workers employed by the US poultry industry,” he explains.
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue comments, “After being shut out of the market for years, US poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China’s market to their products. America’s producers are the most productive in the world and it is critical they are able to sell their bounty to consumers in other parts of the globe. We will continue our work to expand market access in important markets like China as well as other countries, to support our producers and US jobs.”
China has banned all US poultry since January 2015 due to the avian influenza outbreak in December 2014, “even though the US has been free of this disease since August 2017,” notes the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The department reports that the US exported over US$500 million worth of poultry products to China in 2013.
The US is the world’s second largest poultry exporter, with global exports of poultry meat and products of US$4.3 billion last year, according to USDA statistics.
According to a recent Rabobank report, the US poultry sector is increasingly reliant on exports, as domestic markets fail to keep pace. The North American poultry industry continues to grow, and domestic demand “remains good,” but cannot sufficiently absorb the quantity of new product coming to market.
Commenting on the potential of new trade opportunities in China to help counterbalance lagging domestic consumption of poultry, Justin Sherrard, Global Strategist Animal Protein at RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness, tells FoodIngredientsFirst, “It’s certainly helpful, but is this all that it takes to change the balance in the US market? Let’s wait and see.”
“China wants to import leg quarters and wing tips in particular. If you increase production in the US, you’re increasing production of the whole bird carcass – so you still need to find additional demand for every part of the carcass, not just the parts that China has a demand for. So that’s why we should be cautious about what exactly this could mean, although it’s definitely moving in the right direction. It’s a good thing for global trade in animal protein and it’s a good thing to see these steps being taken between China and the US to improve trade relationships,” he explains.
Meanwhile, the National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF) and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) has applauded the recent lifting of the ban.
The groups released the following joint statement welcoming the news, saying, “Lifting the ban has been a top priority of the US poultry industry for the past four years. US poultry producers are committed to raising high-quality, nutritious products and we are extremely pleased that we will once again have the opportunity to share these products with Chinese consumers. We look forward to resuming a trade partnership with China in the coming weeks.”
By Benjamin Ferrer
To contact our editorial team please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.