WASHINGTON – China agreed to lift a four-year-old ban on imports of US poultry. The action represents a significant opportunity for the US poultry industry which exported more than $500 million worth of poultry products to China before the ban. The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) estimates US poultry exports to top $1 billion per year.

The National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF) and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) applauded the announcement.

“Lifting the ban has been a top priority of the US poultry industry for the past four years,” the groups said. “We thank President Trump, Agriculture Secretary Perdue, US Trade Representative Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, congressional leaders and their staffs, all of whom have worked tirelessly to reach an agreement with China and ensure the poultry industry has access to this market.”

In 2015, China banned imports of US poultry following an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that claimed more than 50 million birds. The US has been free of HPAI since 2017.

The annual value of US poultry exports to China peaked at $71 million for turkey and $722 million for chicken. An outbreak of African Swine Fever that has destroyed roughly half of China’s swineherd has caused the Chinese government to formalize trade agreements to fill the protein void. The US poultry trade estimates that renewed access to the Chinese market could result in $1 billion annually for chicken paws alone in addition to another $1 billion of potential exports of other chicken products such as leg and breast meat. Further, turkey exports could generate another $100 million in sales, and poultry breeding stock at least $60 million more.

“After being shut out of the market for years, US poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China’s market to their products,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “America’s producers are the most productive in the world and it is critical they be 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.”

Members of the House Agriculture Committee also welcomed an end to China’s US poultry ban but expressed their wish for more progress on trade with China. In a statement, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, said, “As the farm economy continues to struggle, it's important to get these incremental successes to show our producers that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Now I hope USDA can build on this development to increase access for US farm and food products in China, but none of that can really take hold if the Administration isn’t willing to reconsider its tariff strategy.”