Already, 2020 is looking like a blockbuster year for the poultry industry thanks to the resumption of poultry exports to China.

A $1 billion market

The surprise news came in November 2019, about five years after China closed the door to U.S. poultry (and kept it closed) ostensibly due to concerns about highly pathogenic avian influenza. The market will have an immediate demand for paws, and Chinese consumers will pay many times than what integrators were earning through rendering.

When mature, China could be worth about $1 billion and trade could exceed historic highs recorded before 2014.

Let’s work together

This is unquestionably a good thing for the industry – one economist I talked to called it a "bonanza" – which makes me wonder if it could be a ray of sunshine in the broader so-called trade war between the U.S. and China.

Economically, it’s simple. China is full of people demanding protein and its racked by an outbreak of African swine fever. The U.S. is producing more cheap, high-quality chicken than ever before.

To solve a common problem, and make a little money in the process, both sides put their pride and past aside to get a deal done independently of the wider spat between the two countries. Both sides benefit in the process, despite their political differences.

A hopeful new year

Those I spoke with said these deals signal a wider agreement could be in the works. That’s encouraging, and I hope small accords help foster a larger cessation of hostilities.

The current tactic of tit-for-tat tariffs (appears to be) accomplishing little while hurting the economies of both countries and stirring instability around the world. This year, I hope the leaders of China and the U.S. learn from their counterparts in the poultry industry and put aside their political quarrels to make progress toward a common goal.