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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

China Lifts Embargo on U.S. Poultry


In a November 14th release, the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council celebrated the announcement that China will lift the longstanding and unjustified ban on the importation of U.S. poultry products.

This restriction was imposed on 2015 as a result of a single case of avian influenza in a non-commercial flock. The action by China over the past four years is contrary to the policy of the World Organization of Animal Health that recognizes regionalization and in the case of breeding stock, compartmentalization. The ban on importation of U.S. poultry products was protectionist, unjustified by any scientific reasoning and was contrary to international regulations.

It is obvious that the recent decision by China results from their shortage of protein occasioned by the extensive and uncontrolled outbreak of African swine fever that has reduced the supply of pork.

A number of years ago, China pressured international breeders to supply great-grandparent level breeding stock in an attempt to be independent of frequent importation of grandparent strains. This ill-conceived action restricted growth of the domestic broiler industry. Given the current situation with increased demand for chicken, the Government has reversed the previous policy of exclusion.

According to USDA data, the U.S. supplied turkey and chicken products to the value of $800 million in 2015 at then current values. It is anticipated that sales could accrue to $1 billion for chicken paws and an additional $1 billion for leg quarters and other portions given unrestricted trade without retaliatory duties. Primary breeders would also benefit from export of broiler and egg-strain grandparent stock.

Agreements established with China allow for reciprocal trade. Given that avian influenza and possibly other diseases are endemic in China, that nation is eligible to export only cooked product to the U.S. Given the intense demand for chicken in China, it is doubtful whether any appreciable product will land on our shores. USAPEEC president Jim Sumner recently highlighted the high production cost in China disfavoring exports to the U.S.

Conditions of supply have yet to be determined but it is expected that shipments will reflect domestic demand in China and availability from Brazil, our major export competitor. When and if ASF is controlled, possibly not within five years, China may review their policy on imports. When it suits Government policy China will implicate foodborne pathogens or drug residues, real or contrived, as an excuse to curtail importation. The industry should look back on the 1980s in trade with Russia. Export of “Bush legs” rose to over $1 billion annually, but exports waned with self-sufficiency and political restraints.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane