04/24/2019
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Sen. Thom Tillis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) joined a bipartisan group of 37 senators in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to push the Chinese government to end its ban on the sale of American poultry products. The ban was instituted by China in 2015 due to the detection of a wild duck with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influence (HPAI) and continues to be enforced 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,” said the Senators in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

The United States is the largest poultry producer in the world and the second biggest poultry meat exporter, with nearly 18 percent of its product shipped to foreign markets. According to the North Carolina Poultry Federation, North Carolina’s poultry industry employs over 126,933 people across the state and has an economic impact of $36.6 billion in North Carolina. North Carolina is ranked #3 nationally in total poultry production and it is the #1 agricultural industry in North Carolina.

Joining Senator Tillis on the letter are Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), 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), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Todd Young (R-IN).

“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 full text of the letter follows.

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Secretary

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.

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