WASHINGTON — South Korea has adopted a regionalization policy, which will prevent a countrywide ban on U.S. exports to Korea in the event of a future finding of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the U.S.
As a result of the new policy by South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, should a HPAI case be found, only exports from the affected state(s) will be restricted, allowing the rest of the U.S. to continue shipping poultry and egg products to the Korean market.
The U.S. poultry and egg industry have applauded the announcement.
“The U.S. has one of the most stringent surveillance, eradication and monitoring programs in the world when it comes to avian disease,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. “I want to thank our administration for their efforts in working with the South Koreans to adopt this policy of regionalization.”
“The U.S. now becomes the world’s most reliable supplier of poultry products to Korea,” added Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Council (USAPEEC). “No other country has such a regionalization agreement with Korea. We should now become their No. 1 outside supplier of chicken, turkey, eggs and egg products.”
Korea was growing to become one of the leading markets for U.S. chicken, turkey, and eggs when the U.S. was hit by a devastating outbreak of HPAI in 2014 and 2015. That resulted in a series of lengthy bans on poultry and egg exports from the entire U.S., even though only certain states were affected. The outbreak cost the industry an estimated $4.2 billion in lost exports and U.S. domestic sales. Of that total, about $387 million, or 9.2 percent, can be attributed to South Korea.
“Limiting trade restrictions during future HPAI detections to only those states with positive detections will help keep trade flowing,” said Greg Ibach, USDA undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “The new science-based agreement will allow unaffected U.S. producers to keep poultry, poultry products and eggs going to South Korea. This helps us meet Secretary Perdue’s vision of doing right and feeding the world.”
“Trade is critical for the health of American agriculture, and to support vibrant rural economies. Keeping markets open to exports of U.S. poultry is an important part of that story,” said USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. “This success with South Korea, a top ten market already for poultry products, means we will continue to grow exports to a critical market.”
In 2014, the last full year without any HPAI-related trade restrictions in place, South Korea purchased $122 million in U.S. poultry and products, including eggs, making it the United States’ 10th-largest market. South Korea’s imports from all sources were nearly $426 million in 2017, but only $46 million came from the U.S. In August 2017, South Korea lifted its most recent HPAI-related ban on imports of U.S. poultry, poultry products and fresh eggs, imposed in response to an HPAI outbreak in March 2017.
NCC expressed appreciation of the efforts of the International Services and Veterinary Services at USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, which encouraged Korea to follow OIE (World Organization of Animal Health) guidelines, and provided assurances that the U.S. has a reliable system in place to assure that any future outbreaks would be contained.
NCC joined USAPEEC, the National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers and American Egg Board in expressing appreciation for their efforts.