WASHINGTON- China announced Thursday it has lifted its ban on the import of poultry meat from the United States, effective immediately.

“The United States welcomes China’s decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on U.S. poultry and poultry products. This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Lighthizer in a joint statement with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. 
 
China is an important export market for America’s poultry farmers, and it is estimated they will now be able to export more than $1 billion worth of poultry and poultry products each year to China, according to Lighthizer.
 
"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," he said. 
 
China has banned all U.S. poultry since January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak in December 2014, even though the U.S. has been free of this disease since August 2017. The U.S. exported more than $500 million worth of poultry products to China in 2013.

The U.S. is the world’s second largest poultry exporter, with global exports of poultry meat and products of $4.3 billion last year. 
 
Thursday's announcement is welcome news to the Delmarva poultry industry, a major economic driver for the peninsula. Delmarva's chicken industry produced 4.3 billion pounds of chicken worth $3.4 billion in 2018, according to Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc., a trade association with more than 1,800 members.  
 
Commenting on how the lifting of the ban would impact the First State, which has 734 family poultry farms, Michael T. Scuse, secretary of the Delaware Department of Agriculture, said, "The opening of Chinese markets has been something that we have been looking forward to for a number of years. The ability to export poultry to China will help our producers here on Delmarva and across the United States.”
 
Virginia's two U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, issued a joint statement Thursday welcoming China's announcement, calling it "great news for Virginia poultry producers."