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China lifts restrictions on US poultry meat imports - customs

China's customs said on Thursday it was lifting restrictions on the import of poultry meat from the United States, effective immediately.

14 November 2019, at 2:48pm

The plan to lift the nearly five-year ban on US poultry was announced by China's commerce ministry in late October but publication on the website of the customs administration, which clears imports of all farm products, is a formal recognition of the reopening of the trade, said Reuters.

It comes after the US Food Safety and Inspection Service amended the Federal Register last week to approve imports of poultry products derived from birds slaughtered in China.

The poultry approvals by each side come during ongoing negotations between the countries to resolve a 16-month long trade war in which each has slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each others' goods.

Improving access for US farm produce in the Chinese market has been a critical part of the negotiations, with removal of non-tariff barriers seen as key to reaching Trump's goal of doubling agricultural sales to China.

China had banned all US poultry and eggs since January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak, and imports tanked that year to a fifth of the $390 million worth imported in 2014.

Reopening the market to US poultry meat comes as China faces an unprecedented shortage of protein, after a fatal hog disease killed millions of pigs in the pork-loving country.

Imports of chicken have surged this year, with China even purchasing items from abroad such as breast meat that is normally in surplus in the country. Chicken imports of 548,627 tonnes in the first nine months were up 47.6 percent from year ago levels, according to Chinese customs data, and were worth 9.2 billion yuan.