FAS China: U.S. Turkeys Return to the Spotlight

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10 December 2021, China: After a gap of six years, whole U.S. turkeys are back on the menu in the People’s Republic of China (China). Promotional events were in full swing throughout the month of November across China by the U.S. Agricultural Trade Offices (ATO) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service. ATOs and their partners in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, and Wuhan spotlighted U.S. turkeys (provided by the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council), with recipe ideas at markets, presentations about Thanksgiving dinner traditions and typical side dishes to local shoppers, and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for key hotel and restaurant interlocutors. These events were designed to increase awareness of the U.S. turkey – and Thanksgiving purchases – with food bloggers and influencers, hospitality managers and hoteliers, regional food importers and distributors, retail market consumers, and even with chefs and culinary schools in China.

U.S. turkeys were not available in China because of a ban on U.S. poultry beginning in January 2015, due to a December 2014 outbreak of avian influenza. The long-awaited return of turkeys was made possible by two major developments in the U.S.-China trade relationship. First, the Government of China lifted its ban on poultry imports from the United States in November 2019, opening the door for American poultry farmers to export more than $1 billion worth of poultry and poultry products each year to the country. Further progress for poultry was achieved in 2020, when the United States and China entered into the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement to address structural barriers to trade and support expanding exports of U.S. food, agriculture and seafood products. China’s government maintains regularly updated lists of U.S. facilities that are eligible to export beef, pork, poultry, seafood, dairy, and infant formula products to its shores. More than 500 U.S poultry facilities are currently eligible to export to China, making more opportunities available for U.S. turkeys to be imported by China. 

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