15 May 2024

China grants regional authorization to France to import poultry

China has granted regional authorization to France for importing poultry products despite ongoing concerns about avian influenza.

In a significant development, China has granted regional authorization to France for importing poultry products despite ongoing concerns about avian influenza. This decision comes after a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, marking Xi’s first visit to Europe in five years.

Background

Avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, has had a severe impact on poultry populations worldwide. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks have led to the culling of millions of birds, with France being one of the hardest-hit countries in the European Union. China previously imposed import bans on French poultry between 2015 and 2019 due to avian influenza outbreaks. In 2021, a new outbreak prompted China to reinstate the embargo. However, the recent agreement allows for a more targeted approach.

Pork products

Pork products exported to China, including stomachs and intestines, are little consumed in Europe, but are very popular in China. "Two market access agreements, signed with the Chinese customs administration, make it possible to open the Chinese market to new French products: pork offal, thanks to a modification of the protocol for pork exports, as well as processed protein pork, " the French Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement. This measure could boost French pork exports by 10%.

Soybean meal reduction

Last year, China's Ministry of Agriculture issued a three-year action plan to reduce the use of soybean meal in animal feed in a bid to reduce its heavy reliance on soybean imports. It also approved the import of French dairy products for animal feed last year.

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Key Agreements

  1. Pork imports: China will now allow the import of porcine protein feed and pork by-products from France, provided they meet the necessary requirements. This move is expected to boost French pork exports by approximately 10%.
  2. Regionalization: Instead of imposing nationwide bans, China has agreed to limit poultry embargoes to specific regions where avian influenza outbreaks occur. France becomes the second country, after the United States in 2020, to receive regionalization status for avian influenza outbreaks.
  3. Market access: Two market access agreements were signed with China’s customs administration. These agreements open the Chinese market to new French products, including pork by-products and transformed pork protein.

Implications

Conclusion

China’s decision to grant regional authorization to France demonstrates a pragmatic approach to managing avian influenza risks. By allowing targeted imports and regionalization, both countries aim to balance economic interests with biosecurity concerns. As the poultry industry adapts to these changes, close monitoring and cooperation remain essential to safeguarding global poultry trade.

Sources: Available upon request.

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