Ag Secretary Says US, China Working on Poultry Trade

US - The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working with China to allow trade in poultrymeat, said Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, following talks in Hangzhou.
calendar icon 30 October 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The USDA will soon begin a review of China's food safety laws and poultry plants with an eye to allowing imports of Chinese poultry products, US Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, told Reuters yesterday (29 October).

Post Chronicle reports that Secretary Vilsack signed a letter to US Congress during trade talks in Hangzhou, China to formally begin the review process.

"Our goal and our intent is to do this as expeditiously as possible with cooperation from China," Mr Vilsack said in a telephone interview from Hangzhou.

Congress recently lifted a ban on imports of poultry from China, which has been one of several agricultural trade irritants between the two trading superpowers.

China is a top buyer of US meat, chicken, soybeans and other products.

During the meeting, China agreed to lift its ban on US pork, which accounted for $560 million in trade in 2008.

Mr Vilsack said that Chinese Agriculture Minister, Sun Zhengcai, said China would make a formal announcement about the end of pork ban "very soon," according to Post Chronicle.

Mr Vilsack said: "He didn't put a specific timeline on it, but as you know President Obama is coming to China in a couple of weeks, and I don't know whether that is part of their calculation or not.

"We're going to work through whatever details remain to try to get this done as expeditiously as possible."

He added that he did not know what technical requirements China would have for trade to resume.

China's willingness to lift its pork ban was not related to the recent move by US Congress to end its ban on imports of Chinese poultry products, Mr Vilsack said.

"I asked Minister Sun that specific question, and he was very emphatic in indicating that there's no connection," he said.

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