China has overturned a near five-year ban on US poultry imports as it attempts to cover a meat production shortfall in the country caused by the African swine fever outbreak.
Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, confirmed today (14 November) that restrictions on the import of poultry products from the US had been lifted, “effective immediately”.
It said the order had come from a joint statement of the General Administration of Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
News agency Reuters reported that the plan to lift the ban was announced by China’s commerce ministry in late October but publication on the website of the customs administration, which clears imports of all farm products, is a formal recognition of the reopening of the trade.
It said that the move comes after the US Food Safety and Inspection Service amended the Federal Register last week to approve imports of poultry products derived from birds slaughtered in China.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said: “The United States welcomes China’s decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on U.S. poultry and poultry products. This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,
“China is an important export market for America’s poultry farmers, and we estimate they will now be able to export more than US$1bn 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.”
China has banned all US poultry since January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak in December 2014. The US exported more than $500m worth of poultry products to China in 2013.
The Chinese announcement comes amid negotiations between the countries to resolve a 16-month long costly trade war.
Reuters reported that due to the African swine fever outbreak, imports of chicken in China have surged this year, with China even purchasing items from abroad such as breast meat that is normally in surplus in the country.