Published: Fri, November 15, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

USA to export more than $1bn poultry to China

USA to export more than $1bn poultry to China

China on Thursday lifted a almost five-year ban on poultry meat imports from the United States, a move that senior USA officials said would pave the way for more than one billion dollars in annual poultry exports to China.

"The United States welcomes China's decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on US poultry and poultry products".

The decision out of Beijing is effective immediately and the announcement sent shares of major US chicken processers, Sanderson Farms, Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride to new highs for the year Thursday.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Thursday that the U.S. welcomes the decision and predicted that U.S. poultry exports to China could surpass $1 billion a year.

China had banned all United States poultry and eggs since January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak, and imports tanked that year to a fifth of the US$390 million worth imported in 2014.

It is also driven by an unprecedented shortage of meat in China after a fatal hog disease, African swine fever, has killed millions of pigs in the pork-loving country over the past year.

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However, optimism that the US and China are close to a limited trade deal has faded in recent days due to uncertainty over whether Washington would agree to rollback tariffs and also how any agreement would be enforced. Last month, Trump announced on Twitter that he is working on a "phase one" trade agreement with China that is "60%" done, but has made no promises about completely removing tariffs.

According to him, China is an important export market for US poultry farmers. White House trade hawks view those tariffs as a key source of leverage, as they attempt to pressure China to change the way it manages its economy. But it doesn't address basic disputes about trade, Chinese industrial subsidies and technology policy.

China pressed Washington on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 to roll back punitive tariffs in a tentative trade deal.

China banned all USA poultry beginning in January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak in December 2014.

A tariff cut is an "important condition" for the agreement that is part of talks on ending a costly trade war, said Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng.

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