The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council is confirming that China and the U.S. have signed off on an agreement that the Chinese government will not overreact to outbreaks of avian influenza in the U.S.

As Agri-Pulse reported Wednesday, the protocol states that China will regionalize any bans to U.S. poultry in reaction to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, instead of a nationwide ban. The protocol calls for China only to ban poultry from the state where the outbreak was discovered. The same goes for cases of outbreaks of virulent Newcastle disease.

China has agreed not to impose any restrictions on imports in the event of low pathogenic avian influenza.

China first agreed in principal to U.S. calls for regionalization in the “phase one” pact implemented in February.

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“We’ve been waiting for this,” said USAPEEC President Jim Sumner. “This is a milestone agreement that will help us avoid the problem that we had five years ago when China banned the entire U.S. We’re pleased that our governments have finalized the regionalization issue between our two countries.”

China just lifted a nationwide five-year ban on U.S. poultry in November and U.S. exports are already flowing there steadily.

“In the event of an outbreak, most of our trading partners limit any potential restrictions to the county or state level,” Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, told Agri-Pulse earlier this week. “Before the blanket ban in 2015 due to (high path avian influenza) in turkeys and layers, China at its peak was a $722 million (per year) market for broilers.” 

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