USDA Secretary has issued the following statement in response to the preliminary news of a trade deal that will allow U.S. exports of beef into China as well as allow imports of cooked chicken products into the U.S.

“This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community, and the U.S. economy in general.  We will once again have access to the enormous Chinese market, with a strong and growing middle class, which had been closed to our ranchers for a long, long time,” Perdue said. “I commend the persistence of President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the U.S. Trade Representative’s officials, and our own USDA professionals. I also thank our Chinese counterparts, who worked so hard to get this agreement into place. When the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll want more of it.”

The National Chicken Council also released a statement, praising the move and encouraging the Trump Administration to work on eliminating the Chinese ban on U.S. chicken exports

"This announcement is a positive development and a testament to the administration's work to break down some of the existing obstacles that have been preventing U.S. chicken from regaining access to the Chinese market," said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown.  "With the announcement of U.S. beef access to China, we encourage the administration to continue their work to remove China's obstacles preventing U.S. broiler access to their marketplace. 

"NCC and our members support free and fair trade," Brown continued.  "In order to be effective, free trade must operate as a two-way street.  I am optimistic that as our negotiators continue the dialogue with China, U.S. broiler access issues will be resolved expeditiously."

U.S. chicken has been blocked by China since January 2015, when the country issued a blanket ban on all U.S. poultry over issues related to avian influenza.  Poultry exports to China peaked in 2008, with an export value of $722 million.

Brown also said the announcement only further underscores the need for USDA to scrap its controversial "GIPSA rules" on poultry. 

"In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, it makes little sense for unnecessary and burdensome regulations to be imposed on U.S. chicken producers," Brown said.  "We urge Secretary Perdue to rescind the GIPSA regulations on the broiler industry that will bring tremendous costs and put U.S. broiler products at a competitive disadvantage both domestically and abroad." 

FSIS still must take a number of steps, including issuing a proposed rule in the Federal Register along with a comment period, before it can make a final determination as to whether China is equivalent and thus eligible to export poultry to the United States that was slaughtered and cooked in Chinese establishments.

For Frequently Asked Questions on USDA's Equivalence of China's Poultry Processing and Slaughter Inspection Systems, please click here.

Source: NCC, USDA