Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, co-chairs of the Senate Chicken Caucus, recently sent a letter to U.S. Trade representative Robert E. Lighthizer, highlighting the opportunity to lift China’s ban on U.S. poultry while negotiating structural changes to the U.S.-China trade relationship.
“We believe that a trade agreement with China must provide for strong and lasting structural changes in order to end the unfair trade practices that have disproportionately hurt the U.S. economy and American workers,” the senators wrote. “Agriculture is of particular importance to our states’ economies, and we urge you to use this opportunity to support America’s farmers by securing duty-free access for U.S. agricultural products and lifting the Chinese ban on U.S. poultry products.”
China was a key export market for U.S. poultry prior to 2015 when China imposed a ban on U.S. poultry due to an outbreak of avian influenza. Poultry exports to China peaked in 2008, with an export value of $722 million. Reopening this market to U.S. poultry would create new export opportunities for Delaware’s poultry farmers and support the thousands of workers employed by the poultry industry in Delaware.
Joining Coons and Isakson in sending the letter were Sens. Mark Warner, D-Virginia; John Boozman, R-Arkansas; Doug Jones, D-Alabama; Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas; Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland; Tom Carper, D-Delaware; and Ben Cardin, D-Maryland.