WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — China has resumed imports of U.S. poultry after banning it in January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak in December 2014.

“After being shut out of the market for years, U.S. poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China’s market to their products,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “America’s producers are the most productive in the world and it is critical they be able to sell their bounty to consumers in other parts of the globe. We will continue our work to expand market access in important markets like China as well as other countries, to support our producers and U.S. jobs.”

The United States has been free of avian influenza since August 2017. The United States exported over $500 million worth of poultry products to China in 2013.

“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. “This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers. China is an important export market for America’s poultry farmers, and we estimate they will now be able to export more than $1 billion worth of poultry and poultry products each year to China. Reopening China to U.S. poultry will create new export opportunities for our poultry farmers and support thousands of workers employed by the U.S. poultry industry.”

According to the USDA, the United States is the world’s second largest poultry exporter, with global exports of poultry meat and products of $4.3 billion last year.  

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) is pleased with China’s decision to resume imports of poultry in hopes it will lead to a rise in more feed and feed ingredients used by the U.S. poultry industry.

“Reopening this market for poultry products is also an important first step in expanding the Chinese market for U.S. pet food,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the AFIA. “This ban was first put in place in 2015 when pet food was already subject to a Chinese restriction on ruminant ingredients. This left few options in the way of animal-origin ingredients in pet food destined for China. As a result, exports of U.S. pet food to China dropped from an already meager $8.3 million to $1.4 million within the first year.”

Although the AFIA is encouraged by this news, the association said the industry is eager for further progress on remaining barriers that plague U.S. animal food manufacturers from accessing this market.