After almost seven years, Virginia poultry exports resumed to the People’s Republic of China, with the first shipment leaving Perdue Foods Incorporated’s cold-storage export facility in Norfolk.

This shipment from Perdue’s facility includes chicken wing tips, which left the Port of Virginia, is expected to arrive in Shenzhen, Guangdong State, China Aug. 3. Perdue anticipates increasing its volumes shipped from Virginia by roughly 35 percent this year as a result of the ban being lifted.

“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.  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.  This will also bring significant benefits to the Port of Virginia, an entity that I want to become the East Coast capital for agricultural and forestry product exports,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

In 2007, following an isolated case of low pathogenic avian influenza reported on a single farm in Virginia, China placed a ban on all poultry produced in Virginia, poultry transiting through Virginia, and poultry that is exported from any port in Virginia.  Virginia and federal officials contended that China’s ban was not justified by scientific data, as the isolated LPAI occurrence did not pose a food safety or poultry health risk.  Because of the ban, Virginia had been excluded from taking advantage of business in this high growth market.  China is currently one of the top foreign markets for U.S. poultry, purchasing more than $416 million last year, with Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina as leading suppliers. 

On May 5, Chinese and U.S. officials notified Virginia that the ban was rescinded by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and China’s Ministry of Agriculture. 

China ranked as the number one market for Virginia’s agricultural exports in 2013 with more than $580 million in purchases.  However, the country’s market has remained closed to Virginia poultry products for the past seven years.  The total value of Virginia poultry exports exceeded $186 million in 2013, with China absent as a major potential market for Virginia.  Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia reached a record high of $2.85 billion in 2013.

The poultry industry is the largest individual sector of Virginia’s agriculture industry.  With annual farm cash receipts in excess of $950 million, poultry accounts for more than 30 percent of all Virginia's cash receipts from agriculture.  Virginia's poultry industry depends on fair access to foreign markets in order to support continued prosperity.