The Chinese government on Nov. 14 agreed to lift a five-year ban imposed on U.S. poultry imports.
China imposed the ban on U.S. poultry imports in January 2015 after an avian flu outbreak in December 2014 but kept the import prohibition in place although the U.S. has been declared free of the disease since August 2017.
"The United States welcomes China's decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on U.S. poultry and poultry products," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement.
The announcement was a bright spot during ongoing and often tense negotiations between the U.S. and China to ease a tariff-fueled trade war between the two large economies.
On Oct. 11, President Trump announced that trade talks between China's Vice Premier Liu He, Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin resulted in a "phase one deal," which will encompass new intellectual property and financial services protections and require China to import up to $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products. However, it is still uncertain whether the deal will be finalized between the two countries.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. is the second-largest poultry exporter in the world, with exports of poultry meat and products reaching $4.3 billion last year.
While the U.S. exported more than $500 million worth of poultry products to China in 2013, the USDA forecasts that the restored market access will allow U.S. poultry producers to export more than $1 billion annually to China.
The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council on Nov. 15 praised the Trump administration trade negotiators for working with China to lift the ban on U.S. poultry products and said they are eager for their members to resume exports.
"Renewed access to the Chinese market could result in $1 billion annually for chicken paws alone and, due to China's meat protein deficit as a result of African swine fever, there could be as much as another $1 billion of potential exports of other chicken products, including leg and breast meat," the trade groups said. "Turkey exports could generate another $100 million in sales and poultry breeding stock at least $60 million more."