China opens doors to $1B of US poultry imports

"Great news for both America's farmers and China's consumers'

U.S. poultry is flocking back to China.

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Beijing on Wednesday lifted a ban on U.S. poultry and poultry products that has been in place since January 2015, and chicken-producer Tyson Foods rallied on the news.

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TSNTYSON FOODS INC.88.61-1.06-1.18%

The decision paves the way for the export of more than $1 billion worth of poultry and poultry products to China each year.

It's “great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightheizer said in a statement. It “will create new export opportunities for our poultry farmers and support thousands of workers employed by the U.S. poultry industry,” he added.

U.S. poultry was banned in China following a December 2014 avian flu outbreak, and the prohibition had remained in place despite American poultry being declared disease-free in August 2017.

The United States is the world’s second-largest poultry exporter, behind Brazil, shipping more than $4.3 billion of product last year, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

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China's change of heart comes as the country seeks substitutes for pork, the supply of which has dwindled amid an outbreak of African Swine Flu. It doesn't move the needle on trade talks between the U.S. and China. The world’s two economic superpowers have been engaged in a 16-month-long trade war that has seen the two sides slap tariffs of hundreds of millions of dollars of tariffs on one another’s goods.

The parties said in October that a framework for a phase one trade deal had been reached, but nothing has been put on paper. President Trump has said a comprehensive trade pact would be made up of two or three phases.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Chinese negotiators were reluctant to commit to a set amount of U.S. agricultural purchases.

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White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told FOX Business' Liz McDonald later on Wednesday that the report is "rumor stuff" and said someone is "making a lot of money moving the markets."