Eight poultry and meat organizations sent a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack  yesterday requesting that USDA “give the highest priority to completing the review as soon as possible” for determining the status of Chinese plants seeking approval to  export cooked poultry to the United States. “This one issue, as we all are painfully aware, has strained our relationship with China and has led the Chinese government to impose and maintain several unjustified, non-scientific trade barriers that affect U.S. beef, pork, and poultry exports to China.  The value of these exports, conservatively estimated, is more than $1.6 billion and could affect nearly 20,000 jobs in our industries,” the letter explained.

USDA published the final rule in question more than five years ago.  Impediments to finalizing the rule were eliminated nearly two years ago, the letter noted.  Secretary Vilsack will be traveling with other senior USDA officials to Beijing in the coming weeks and with the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meeting in December, the issue must progress “with a sense of urgency,”  the group told the Secretary.

Organizations signing the letter were National Chicken Council, American Meat Institute, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and National Meat Association.