US chicken off to China again

Updated: 2014-07-18 13:53

By Chen Weihua in Washington (China Daily USA)

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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was at the Purdue Foods Inc's cold-storage export facility on Thursday in Norfolk, witnessing poultry products that were being loaded and shipped to China.

It will be the first shipment of poultry products leaving the facility for China after a ban was lifted by China in May. The ban was imposed by China in 2007 following low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) that was reported in a Virginia farm.

"I am thrilled to see poultry products being exported from Virginia to China for the first time since 2007. I made having the long-standing ban removed a top economic priority of my administration, so I wanted to be in Norfolk to witness firsthand the vessel being loaded," McAuliffe said.

"The resumption of business means more trade and revenue generation opportunities for Virginia's poultry industry and the many related businesses that work to move product from our family farms into the global marketplace,"

The shipment will leave the Port of Virginia on Friday and arrive in Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong province on Aug 3.

China is now one of the top foreign markets for US poultry and bought more than $416 million last year. Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina are leading suppliers, according to a statement from McAuliffe's office.

"Today's shipment marks a great day for Virginia's poultry industry and Virginia's growing relationship with China, our largest export customer of agricultural and forestry products," said Todd Haymore, Virginia's secretary of agriculture and forestry.

He estimated at least $20 million in poultry exports to China during the first full year the market is open, but said Virginia hopes to exceed that number. And he believes Virginia has the infrastructure and determination to achieve the goal.

Virginia exported a total of $186 million worth of poultry in 2013, with China being absent.

The poultry industry is the largest individual sector of Virginia's agriculture industry and depends on access to foreign markets for more growth.

It is unknown whetherHowever, the shipment of the poultry exports will be subject to the new anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on US white-feathered broiler products announced by China's Ministry of Commerce on July 8. An email to McAuliffe's office on Thursday received no reply.

In a statement, China's commerce ministry said a reinvestigation of US white-feathered broiler products found evidence of dumping and subsidization that caused substantial harm to the local industry. It announced the leveling of duties starting on July 9 ranging from 46.6 to 73.8 percent, and 4 to 4.2 percent, respectively.

The decision was a result of a probe launched last December in response to a World Trade Organization report that claimed China had violated certain rules on the issue.

But in September last year, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body supported China's arguments in some respects. However, it also upheld the US claims that China acted inconsistently with articles of the Anti-Dumping Agreement in conducting the investigations as well as in the calculation of the anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

McAuliffehas been touting the achievement of lifting the chicken ban since May. He is leading a trade mission to China in October,

"We hope to be signing some deals. Our economic development office has been working hard," McAuliffe told China Daily in an interview early last month.

"Obviously China is expanding. We want to be part of that expansion. We want to be partners with China," he said.

The China trip, according to McAuliffe, will focus on promoting economic development, tourism, agricultural exports and port activity as well as Chinese companies looking to invest in the US, according to Vince Barnett, director of communications and promotions of Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

McAuliffe has been to China about a dozen times since the mid-1980s, but it will be his first trip since taking office in January this year.

Besides growing economic ties, Virginia has also been forging strong cultural ties with China.

The Forbidden City, an exhibition of imperial treasures from the Palace Museum in Beijing, will be unveiled in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond in October .

Meanwhile, the Richmond Ballet will embark on a visit to Beijing next May to perform in the 15th annual Meet in Beijing Arts Festival. Senior members of the troupe went to Beijing last week to participate in the 5th China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.

(China Daily USA 07/18/2014 page2)