USDA asks China to reconsider its ban on US poultry
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has requested that China end a ban on imports of US poultry that was imposed after an outbreak of bird flu in chickens and turkeys, Reuters reports.
Cases of avian flu prompted China and South Korea to impose bans on US poultry imports earlier this year. Last year, the two countries accounted for about US$428.5 million in export sales of US poultry meat and products, according to USDA data.
The US would like China to limit trade only from states or regions that had confirmed cases of the flu, which is deadly to poultry, Vilsack told reporters.
Imported poultry from China is human health related whilst bird flu is an animal health issue
China's agriculture minister indicated he would consider Vilsack's request, but linked the matter to US limits on imports of poultry raised and processed in China, Vilsack said. The US restrictions on imports of poultry from China are related to human health, while the bird flu is an issue of animal health, he added.
A team from China will consider visiting the US this year to observe measures US poultry producers take to protect flocks from the virus, Vilsack said. The visit will be part of the US effort to convince China to eliminate the countrywide ban.
Bird flu has affected 7.3 million birds so far in the US
So far, the outbreak of bird flu has affected more than 7.3 million birds in US commercial flocks. On Friday, a USDA official told Reuters the department has US$84.2 million in funds to address the outbreak. It is already aware of US$60 million in indemnity claims that will be made by poultry farmers seeking compensation for culled flocks.
Mexico also requested to ease its restrictions on US poultry and turkeys
The US also has pressed Mexico, the top importer of US poultry, to ease its restrictions on imports of US chickens and turkeys. Mexico limits imports from states with infected flocks, and the USDA would like the restrictions to be applied only to counties with infected farms.
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