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China plans U.S. visits for poultry trade

Staff Writer |
Chinese agricultural delegations are set to visit the United States in the coming months, raising hopes that Beijing may lift a ban on U.S. poultry imports.

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A decision by Beijing to cancel the ban would benefit US farmers nervous about trade policies under U.S. President Donald Trump, who pulled out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership in January and pledged to renegotiate NAFTA.

China has blocked American poultry imports since the United States suffered its worst-ever outbreak of avian flu in poultry in 2015, frustrating US producers who have detected only a handful of highly lethal cases of the virus in birds since last year.

The ban cut off a major market for US chicken companies including Tyson Foods Inc and Sanderson Farms Inc, particularly for chicken feet, which Americans generally do not eat.

Next month, representatives of China’s agriculture ministry and animal quarantine and inspection service will visit U.S. poultry facilities and learn how producers fight avian flu, Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, a trade group, said.

It will be the first such visit since China imposed its ban and precedes the arrival of another Chinese delegation in September, he said.

“We’re hoping that after the visit that they lift the ban entirely,” Mr Sumner said about the September trip.

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