WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to push the Chinese government to end its ban on the sale of American poultry products. In a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the senators called for the reopening of the Chinese market to U.S. poultry.
China established the ban in 2015 due to the detection of a wild duck with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influence (HPAI) and continues to enforce it today, in contradiction of World Health Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards.
“Poultry is produced in almost every state. For communities and states that rely on a thriving and growing poultry industry, these agreements are essential to a strong and vibrant future,” wrote the Senators.
Arkansas is the second largest producer of broiler chickens and the third largest producer of turkeys in the country.
“The poultry industry provides thousands of high quality jobs in our rural communities and the reopening of the Chinese market would provide a huge boost for these rural areas. We encourage you to remain focused on the next steps to officially reopen the Chinese market as soon as possible,” added the Senators.
The letter was led by Senators Mark Warner D-VA) and Thad Cochran (R-MS). In addition to Boozman and Cotton, the letter is signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), David Perdue (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Luther Strange (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Todd Young (R-IN).
The full text of the letter follows. A copy of the letter is available here.The Honorable Sonny Perdue
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250
Dear Secretary Perdue:
We are encouraged by the Administration’s recent efforts to reopen the Chinese beef trade market, and are pleased you have made lifting the Chinese ban on U.S. poultry products one of your top priorities as Agriculture Secretary. In January 2015, China banned all poultry products from the United States due to the detection of a wild duck with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). More than two years later, China continues to enforce this ban, which is inconsistent with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards. As a result, U.S. poultry producers have been negatively affected by the loss of this burgeoning export market.
The poultry industry provides thousands of high quality jobs in our rural communities and the reopening of the Chinese market would provide a huge boost for these rural areas. We encourage you to remain focused on the next steps to officially reopen the Chinese market as soon as possible. Expanding market access in growing regions in the Asia Pacific, especially China, is essential for our poultry producers and will result in the creation of new jobs and higher wages in rural communities. We are hopeful for a swift process and offer our strong support as you and your staff continue to work to reopen this critical export market for poultry produced in the United States.
We understand and are encouraged that China has begun its animal health audit of the U.S. poultry industry. Once this audit is completed, we encourage USDA to remain diligent in seeking final Chinese approval for U.S. poultry’s first successful shipment as quickly as possible. Poultry products are often part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, and our farmers would very much like to be able to offer their products during that time.
With the productivity of U.S. agriculture exceeding domestic demand, the U.S. food and agriculture industry—and the rural communities which depend on it—rely heavily on export markets to sustain prices and revenues. Poultry is produced in almost every state. For communities and states that rely on a thriving and growing poultry industry, these agreements are essential to a strong and vibrant future.
We look forward to hearing from you regarding the status of this important negotiation.