U.S. poultry has only regained access to the Chinese chicken market for about a year and a half, but trade is booming, and the U.S. was the number-one supplier to China in the last two months of 2020.

The U.S. sells broilers, leg meat, paws and other poultry products to China, but the paws business is especially valuable to U.S. producers, who would otherwise have to sell them to renderers at a much lower price.

“Chicken paw exports to China in 2020 were 201,958 metric tons valued at $461 million,” says the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council. “If all of those paws had been sold domestically for rendering instead of being exported, the value would have been only $22.3 million.”

But U.S. broiler exports to China also gained quick momentum, making 2020 a record-breaking year, according to USAPEEC. The U.S. shipped about $732 million worth of broilers to Chinese buyers in 2020. That’s about 21% of total U.S. exports, worldwide.

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“The reopening of the China market could not have come at a better time for our industry," said USAPEEC President Jim Sumner. “With so many of our other markets suffering disruptions similar to what we experienced in the U.S., our ability to deliver and even increase our exports made an important difference.”

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