Norfolk – Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on June 17 that 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 here.
This shipment from Perdue's facility includes chicken wing tips, which will leave the Port of Virginia on Friday, and is expected to arrive in Shenzhen, Guangdong State, China on Aug 3.
The governor, who witnessed the poultry products being loaded at the Perdue facility, was joined by Perdue Foods Vice President, International Carlos Ayala and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. 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," McAuliffe said. "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."
In 2007, following an isolated case of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) 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.
"We estimate conservatively that Virginia will see at least $20 million in poultry exports to China during the first full year the market is open, but we're hoping to far exceed that number," Haymore said.
On May 5, Chinese and U.S. officials notified the McAuliffe Administration that the ban, instituted in July 2007, was rescinded by China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and China's Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).
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.
Pictured (left to right) are: Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John F. Reinhart and Perdue Foods Vice President, International, Carlos Ayala.