December 17, 2019
Tyson Foods gets approval to export poultry to China
Tyson Foods will be able to export US poultry to China from all its 36 US processing plants following approval by both countries' authorities, Reuters reported.
The company is expected to take orders by early 2020, according to its chief supply chain officer.
US chicken companies are eager to resume sales in China after the country ended a nearly five-year ban on imports in November. The move would also assuage Chinese demand for other meat as African swine fever outbreaks continue to affect both local pig herds and pork supply.
Increased Chinese purchases of products like chicken feet, wing tips and legs would help increase US agricultural exports to China as the two countries negotiate a trade deal.
"There's an extreme amount of interest across all those parts from multiple buyers in China," Bernie Adcock, Tyson Foods' chief supply chain officer for poultry, said in an interview.
The US Trade Representative last month projected more than US$1 billion in annual poultry shipments to China.
China banned US poultry and eggs in January 2015 over a US outbreak of avian flu, closing a market that bought US$500 million worth of US poultry products in 2013, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
China is scouring the globe for meat and poultry after African swine fever killed about half of the world's largest hog herd.
US meat companies have faced a disadvantage for pork exports to China, compared to other suppliers, as Beijing imposed tariffs of up to 72% on US pork as part of the countries' trade war. Tyson, the largest US meat producer, expects China to import more US pork and poultry to compensate for African swine fever's toll.
China is an important market for chicken parts that many US consumers do not eat. During China's ban, companies including Tyson and Sanderson Farms Inc rendered some feet for products like fertilider and pet food, instead of exporting them for higher returns.
Tyson is working to win US approval by the end of the year for labels on poultry exported to China, the final step. It received its first label approval this month, Adcock said.
Processing plants run by Sanderson, Pilgrim's Pride Corp and other companies also have been cleared to ship US poultry to China, according to USDA.
Tyson will probably not ship poultry to China from all its plants, Adcock said.