Bad News for US Poultry Exports

1408772947be8wyIt is well documented that there is a trade deficit with China, where the US imports way more cargo from China than we export. However, there is one major product to China that we export: poultry. From January to November 2014, the US exported $272 million worth of poultry to China. It seems that companies in China are working with great freight forwarders to lock down the best ocean freight shipping rates for shipping across the trans-pacific. The result of this international shipping is China becoming the sixth largest importer of US chickens and the second largest for turkeys. Most of the poultry production in the US occurs in the southern states. Overall, poultry exports from the US achieved a great 2014, until the end of the year that is.

By the end of 2014, the US Department of Agriculture made a shocking discovery. While examining wild, non-commercial poultry in some west coast states, they found that some birds contained a strain of H5N8, which is the avian flu. The good news is that this discovery is in non-commercial birds and only found in states that are not the big producers of poultry. Thus, health officials confirm that there should be no immediate public health concerns.

However, it seems that China is not taking any chances. China, along with South Korea and South Africa are placing restrictions or bans on the imports of US poultry because of the avian flu scare. This includes shipments of both live chickens and eggs. Hopefully, the US poultry industry can survive and recover after the loss of a major source of business.

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