China lifts ban on U.S. poultry

China has lifted an almost 5-year-old ban on U.S. poultry.

The ban went into effect in January 2015, when the United States experienced an outbreak of avian influenza. The country has been free of the disease since 2017, according to a statement from the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “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.”

At its peak, the annual value of poultry exports from the United States to China was $71 million for turkey and $722 million for chicken, according to a statement from the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, who applauded the announcement.

This development comes at a crucial time for China, where officials are dealing with African swine fever. According to one recent estimate, the disease has cut China’s hog herd by as much as half since the outbreak began in August 2018. Agriculture industry company Rabobank estimates it will take the country at least until 2025 to stabilize its pork market.