China bans USA poultry imports, will India be the next to do so?

Concerns are growing in India over proposed poultry imports from USA. US poultry industry says that HPAI virus has not infected commercial poultry so far, but reports contradict the claim

By Sai Nikesh D

In a move that is expected to hit the US poultry industry hard, the Chinese government has banned all imports of US poultry and egg products, effective January 8, 2015, after the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in some parts of USA last month.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) have said that the ban will also cover breeding stock, which includes live chicks and hatching eggs. The ban has been imposed despite assurances by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that the influenza virus has not been detected in any commercial poultry flock in USA so far.

“There’s absolutely no justification for China to take such a drastic action. In fact, these isolated and remote incidents are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from major poultry and egg production areas,” said Jim Sumner, President, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).

The move effectively stalls USA poultry exports to China which stood at around $272 million in January – November 2014. The China ban comes after import restrictions by Russia on poultry imports from EU and USA last year. It is also expected to embolden India which is planning to appeal against the recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling that allowed USA poultry imports after a dispute going back to March 2012. The deadline for India to appeal against the WTO ruling is January 26, 2015.

Avian Flu or Bird flu is expected to hog the limelight in global poultry trade this year. According to a recent report by Rabobank regions affected by avian flu outbreaks, like the EU and Canada, will suffer from lost export markets and this will affect local prices. “Brazil is expected to capture the USA and EU poultry markets in 2015,” says the report.

Experts also say that the flu can spread to commercial poultry through wild birds. “A key concern for the coming months is the spread of avian flu, which has become a global issue in recent months. Several avian flu strains are already endemic in several parts of Asia and Mexico, and the disease is increasingly spreading globally via wild birds,” said Rabobank´s Nan-Dirk Mulder.

 

This article was published in The Dollar Business on January 13, 2015.

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