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Home » Trade » Chickity China: China resumes US poultry imports after 4-year ban

Chickity China: China resumes US poultry imports after 4-year ban

PortandTerminal.com, December 27, 2019

The first poultry shipment to China in 4 years sailed out of the Port of Savannah and arrives in China next month.

WASHINGTON – The first shipment of U.S. chicken to be sent to China in 4 years will be arriving in January, marking the resumption in trade after China lifted its ban just a little over a month ago, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council President Jim Sumner told Agri-Pulse in a recent interview.

The Chinese ban, based on an outbreak of avian influenza years ago and long since stamped out, was lifted shortly after the U.S. announced in November that it had approved the importation of Chinese chicken — a move China has been demanding for more than 20 years.

“The first shipment (to China) is chicken paws, produced in Georgia, and it sailed out of the Port of Savannah,” Sumner said. “We’re glad that the first shipment in five years is coming from the number-one chicken producing state in the nation.”

Infographic showing the top 5 chicken producing states in the United States. Source of image is the National Chicken Council

That shipment, containing roughly 50,000 pounds of chicken paws, will be followed by several others, and it’s expected to be just the beginning of a quick ramp-up in trade, according to Sumner.

The Chinese love to eat chicken paws, a product that has not caught on in the U.S., which produces about 1.5 billion pounds every year. During the Chinese ban most of those paws were sold to renderers here that pay about 5 cents per pound. The Chinese will pay about 87 cents per pound.

Chicken paws are a popular food item in China

“The opening of China — even if it was just for chicken paws alone … would increase the bottom line of U.S. chicken companies by $835 million per year, Sumner said in a recent interview when China lifted its ban.

“The opening of China — even if it was just for chicken paws alone … would increase the bottom line of U.S. chicken companies by $835 million per year,

Jim Sumner, President, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council

For now, the U.S. is only shipping paws, but that could change soon. Sumner said he believes U.S. producers may also begin to ship drumsticks, leg quarters and wingtips. There’s a 35% Chinese tariff on U.S. poultry — a retaliation to U.S. tariffs in the ongoing trade war that the U.S. and China say they hope to end soon — but it’s still profitable to ship the paws and potentially other cuts, Sumner said.

China needs to diversify its diet when it comes to meat and chicken is one opportunity to do that.

The country is the world’s largest pork consumer and accounts for half the world’s consumption of the meat.

China though is currently dealing with a devastating swine fever outbreak, which has killed millions of pigs and significantly reduced the supply of pork. As consumers in China look for other protein sources, chicken could become a more enticing option if the outbreak lingers.

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