WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. officials and industry groups on Thursday lauded China's lifting of restrictions on imports of American poultry products, which could lead to more than 1 billion U.S. dollars in annual sales of U.S. poultry to China.
"This is great news for both America's farmers and China's consumers," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement after China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) announced that the country has lifted restrictions on imports of U.S. poultry products.
"Reopening China to U.S. poultry will create new export opportunities for our poultry farmers and support thousands of workers employed by the U.S. poultry industry," Lighthizer said.
"We estimate they will now be able to export more than 1 billion dollars worth of poultry and poultry products each year to China," he added.
"U.S. poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China's market to their products," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a separate statement, noting his department will continue the work to expand market access in important markets like China as well as other countries.
The National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council also lauded the lifting of restrictions.
"We are extremely pleased that we will once again have the opportunity to share these products with Chinese consumers. We look forward to resuming a trade partnership with China in the coming weeks," the groups said in a joint statement.
There could be as much as another 1 billion dollars of potential exports of chicken products, including leg and breast meat, the groups said.
In a bid to ward off the flu epidemic and protect China's poultry production, China banned the import of poultry and related products from the United States after avian influenza outbreaks occurred in some parts of the United States in 2013 and 2014.
The United States actively took preventive and control measures afterward, and no new cases have been reported in the United States since March 2017.
At the invitation of the U.S. side, a Chinese team of experts visited the United States in July 2017 to conduct a field assessment of avian influenza prevention and control systems and poultry meat surveillance measures.
In May 2018, China and the United States held consultations on this issue. After a comprehensive assessment, China believes that the avian flu epidemic in the United States has been effectively controlled, and the country's poultry meat regulatory system meets the requirements of relevant laws and regulations in China.
After the removal of the restrictions on U.S. poultry products, China's poultry import source will be further expanded so as to meet market demands effectively, said China's GAC and MARA officials.