November 11, 2019


USDA to permit imports of poultry from China


The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be permitting imports of Chinese poultry, a sign of progress in US-China trade talks, according to a November 8 Bloomberg report.

An unpublished USDA regulation allowing the shipments was posted on the Federal Register website and was scheduled to be published last week. The new permission covers birds as well as poultry parts and products slaughtered in certified Chinese facilities, the document shows.

A compromise over poultry has been one of the areas of advanced discussions between the nations as they inch toward a partial trade deal.

In October, China said it could end a ban on US shipments that's been in place since 2015 as part of a "Phase One" agreement. Xinhua reported that China's General Administration of Customs and Ministry of Agriculture are studying the removal of curbs on American supplies.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is required to determine equivalency with any country that wants to export regulated products to the United States, said a USDA spokesperson, adding that FSIS conducted a review of China's food safety inspection system and determined it is equivalent to its own system.

Chicken feet are more popular in China than chicken breasts. The Asian country has had a goal of shipping cooked chicken to the US that dates back to at least 2004.

China is currently allowed to send poultry to the US that is slaughtered in America or certain other countries, but the new regulation would allow for processed products made from birds slaughtered in the Asian country.

Meanwhile, if Beijing were to lift its ban on US poultry, it could be a major win for US farmers and meat processors.

China prohibited US poultry in 2015 due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Nearly all other nationwide bans following the outbreak have been lifted. Before 2015, US shipments were subject to anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

The negotiations over poultry come at a time when African swine fever is destroying the hog herd in China, the world's biggest pork consumer. The Asian nation has quickly ramped up its meat imports to help meet a protein supply gap. China had recently lifted a ban on Canadian pork and beef that was imposed in June. It has also approved imports of Brazilian offal.

- Bloomberg