WASHINGTON (CN) – China announced Thursday it will end a nearly five-year ban on the importation of U.S. poultry, a move the Trump administration says could boost U.S. poultry exports by more than $1 billion.
The Chinese ban dates to January 2015, when Beijing cut off U.S. shipments of poultry in response to an outbreak of avian influenza the month before. In 2013, the U.S. sent more than $500 million in poultry and related products to Chinese markets, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said without the ban, U.S. poultry farmers could double that mark and add to the $4.3 billion the United States already exports in poultry and related products. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hailed the end of the ban as an important step for American farmers.
“After being shut out of the market for years, U.S. poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China’s market to their products,” Perdue said in a statement. “America’s producers are the most productive in the world and it is critical they be able to sell their bounty to consumers in other parts of the globe.”
The announcement is the latest development in the trade war the United States and China have been locked in for much of Trump’s presidency, but the administration did not directly tie China’s announcement to ongoing trade negotiations between the countries.
Last month, Trump announced the two countries had reached a tentative agreement on a partial trade deal, lifting $250 billion in impending sanctions after China agreed to buy additional U.S. agricultural goods.
The agreement has yet to be signed and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative did not respond to a request seeking clarification on whether China’s decision to lift the ban was part of or in any way related to the deal or other ongoing negotiations.