Press Releases

Japan Lifts Ban on Delaware Poultry

Fifth-largest Market for Delaware Chickens Opens Its Doors

Sep 29 2004

WASHINGTON (Sept. 28, 2004) – Japan, one of the few remaining countries still to have a ban on Delmarva chickens following an outbreak of avian influenza (A.I.) earlier this year, has lifted its trade restrictions on Delmarva chickens, Delaware’s congressional delegation announced today. The lifting of the ban is good news for Delaware chicken producers. Japan is the United States’ fifth-largest poultry export market, with annual sales of some $130 million. Much of the trade with Japan is value-added poultry and egg products – the demand for chicken breasts is particularly high – so it’s difficult to shift these types of goods to other markets. Japan’s news, then, means valuable Delmarva chicken products will again be sold overseas. The news to lift the ban follows several actions taken by the Delaware delegation. In August, the delegation wrote U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, urging him to help lift the remaining bans on Delaware poultry. Following that, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., called the Japanese ambassador to urge him to lift the ban, which was rescinded today. Japan is but the latest country to lift trade restrictions on Delaware chickens following the A.I. outbreak earlier this year. Russia, Mexico and Hong Kong, all important markets for U.S. poultry, have previously lifted their bans. The only remaining country of the top-five export markets that still bans Delaware poultry is China. The delegation is currently working with the Chinese embassy to see that ban lifted as well. "I'm pleased that the Japanese government has opened its markets to Delaware poultry," said Senator Biden. "This decision will set an important example for other Asian nations, such as China and Korea, to follow. Japan's actions clearly demonstrate that there are no reasons for any country to discriminate against our poultry exports." “This is great news for Delaware’s farmers, who have felt the pain of the trade restrictions since the various bans were put into place more than six months ago,” said Sen. Carper. “In my conversations with Trade Representative Zoellick, Agriculture Secretary Veneman, and Japanese Ambassador Kato, I have repeatedly made the case that the ban unfairly discriminates against Delmarva poultry because we’ve had no positive tests in the past six months. I’m glad we’ve turned a corner with Japan, and I can assure you that the delegation will continue to press China to lift its ban as soon as possible.” “The opening of the Japanese markets should spur other countries to do the same,” said Congressman Castle. “Delaware poultry has been proven safe, with no positive tests of avian influenza. It is time to lift all trade barriers and get commerce moving again. The industries and economies of Kent and Sussex counties rely in part on our open trade relations with other countries, so we must keep pushing for other Asian countries to open up their markets.”