WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan group of 37 Senators led by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) today wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue calling for the swift reopening of the Chinese market after exports of U.S. chicken and turkey were banned in 2015. The National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council expressed appreciation of the focus that U.S. negotiators and the administration have on next steps to officially reopen the Chinese market to chicken and turkey from the United States as quickly as possible.
“Poultry producers are pleased to see a third of the Senate, led by Senators Cochran and Warner, call for swift progress to end China’s ban on U.S. poultry,” stated both National Turkey Federation and National Chicken Council. “It is critical that we continue to develop an open trading relationship with the Chinese. The Senate’s strong statement on behalf of American poultry products makes clear balance and fairness must exist for a two-way open market with China.”
As the Senators noted in their letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, “We understand and are encouraged that China has begun its animal health audit of the U.S. poultry industry. Once this audit is completed, we encourage USDA to remain diligent in seeking final Chinese approval for U.S. poultry’s first successful shipment as quickly as possible. Poultry products are often part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, and our farmers would very much like to be able to offer their products during that time.”
At its peak, the value of poultry exports from the U.S. to China was $71 million for turkey and $722 million for chicken. China continues to ban U.S. poultry in contradiction of World Health Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards long after the 2015 detection of a single wild bird with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. The United States is the largest poultry producer in the world and the second biggest poultry meat exporter, with nearly 18 percent of its product shipped to foreign markets.