WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 — China has lifted a seven-year ban on poultry imports from Virginia. The move could further facilitate exports of U.S. poultry and poultry products to the world’s biggest nation, USDA said in a statement.

In 2007, China suspended poultry imports from Virginia after a single case of low pathogenic avian influenza was found on a Virginia farm. State officials contended that the ban was not justified by scientific data, as the isolated low-patch case did not pose a food safety or poultry health risk. 

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore said the move could add $20 million a year to the state’s annual poultry export sales. China was the number one market for Virginia’s agricultural exports in 2013 with more than $580 million in purchases. The total value of Virginia poultry exports exceeded $186 million in 2013, with China absent as a major potential market.

“Poultry is the largest individual sector of Virginia’s agriculture industry, and increased exports will help support farm, processing, and transportation related jobs in the Commonwealth,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.

McAuliffe said getting the ban lifted was a team effort that included officials from Virginia as well as USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

“The USTR and USDA made resolution of this issue a priority and worked closely alongside Virginia’s individual efforts to address the matter,” McAuliffe said. 

China is currently the third largest export market for U.S.-origin poultry and poultry products, with 2013 purchases totaling $503.6 million, according to USDA. 


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