US may lose Chinese market for chicken feet

09-07-2009 | |
US may lose Chinese market for chicken feet

There is currently much turmoil between China and the US as Beijing has effectively given the boot to millions of dollars worth of US chicken, about half of which is chicken feet, reports Reuters.

This action comes as Congress begins deliberating the 2010 federal budget for agriculture, which could extend a US ban on imports of Chinese chicken products sparked by food safety concerns.

According to US exporters, the ban has angered the Chinese, and it reported that Beijing has halted imports of US chicken, although officially China is saying imports are not blocked.

China is a huge market for US chicken feet, or paws, and bought 421,000 t (US$280 mln worth) in 2008, according to the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council.

China also buys some US chicken wings and dark meat leg quarters. In total, China bought 754,000 t of US chicken in 2008 (US$676 mln worth), according to trade statistics.

Chinese importers last week told U.S. chicken companies that Beijing was not issuing import permits for U.S. chicken, effectively blocking the poultry for the rest of 2009.

It is believed some U.S. chicken could still enter China via Hong Kong, but industry sources said it is not known if the quantities would be comparable.

Source: Reuters

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist