US chickens headed to China after Beijing lifts 5-year ban

Business

Steve Hurd of Hurd’s Farm in Hampton, N.H., looks over his livestock on Nov. 7, 2019. Hurd now raises cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys, for beef, pork, poultry and eggs. (Rich Beauchesne/Portsmouth Herald via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — China is lifting a five-year ban on U.S. poultry, a goodwill gesture at a time when the world’s two biggest economies are trying to finalize a tentative trade deal.

China had blocked U.S. poultry imports a month after an outbreak of avian influenza in December 2014, closing off a market that bought more than $500 million worth of American chicken, turkey and other poultry products in 2013.

“The United States welcomes China’s decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on U.S. poultry and poultry products.  This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who predicted that U.S. poultry exports to China could surpass $1 billion a year.

The decision out of Beijing is effective immediately and the announcement sent shares of major U.S. chicken processers, Sanderson Farms, Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride to new highs for the year Thursday.

The Chinese market looks especially promising for U.S. poultry producers because an outbreak of African swine fever has devastated a competing protein in China: pork.

The U.S. and China are locked in a trade war over American allegations that the Chinese are deploying predatory tactics — including stealing trade secrets — in an aggressive drive to challenge U.S. technological dominance. The two countries have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s goods in the biggest trade conflict since the 1930s.

Last month, U.S. and Chinese negotiators announced a modest breakthrough.

China agreed to buy more U.S. farm products, and President Donald Trump dropped plans to hike tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. Big differences over China’s technology policies were largely unaddressed and left for future negotiations.

But even that tentative “Phase 1’’ deal hasn’t been officially signed as China presses the U.S. to roll back its tariffs.

“Today’s development (on U.S. poultry) is definitely linked to the trade war and, though the progress is incremental, it is positive and resolves a longstanding irritant in the trade relationship,” said Jeff Moon, a former U.S. diplomat and trade official specializing in China who is now president of the China Moon Strategies consultancy. “I speculate that the White House might be making this announcement to counter recent press reports that trade war negotiations are faltering.’’

China pressed Washington on Thursday to roll back punitive tariffs.

A tariff cut is an “important condition” for the agreement that is part of talks on ending a costly trade war, said Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Don’t Miss

Best of the Valley
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.