A woman cleans a smart layer chicken farm in Nantong, East China's Jiangsu Province on Sunday. (Photo: VCG)
The US Federal Register has carried a notice announcing Washington's recognition of China's poultry-product inspection systems, the first time since China proposed such exports to the US in 2004.
A Chinese expert said on Sunday this is a positive move toward reaching a bilateral trade deal and a sign that the two governments are being more pragmatic in trade negotiations.
A document published on the website of the US Federal Register on Friday said that the US has confirmed the equivalence of poultry-product inspection systems between the two countries.
China thus joins a list of countries including Canada, Mexico and Chile that are eligible to export cooked poultry products to the US.
China welcomes the US measure on poultry products, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said on Saturday. Citing a spokesperson from the GAC, the Xinhua News Agency reported that "the confirmation by the US authority will have positive effects on China's export of poultry products to the US."
The US move could lower the cost of China's exports of such products to the US and promote free trade between the two countries, Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"Food safety in the US is very strict, and the US used to use food standards to increase the cost of importing such products to create trade barriers for trade protectionism," Li said, adding that "recognizing China's inspection system of such products means the US is removing the trade barriers in this field."
In 2004, China proposed the export of poultry products to the US, but Washington refused on the grounds that China's regulatory system was not equivalent to the US and raised the risk of bird flu.
Since then, China has urged the US to comply with the relevant provisions of the World Organization for Animal Health while providing details on China's poultry-product supervision system to the US for evaluation.
In 2016, the US confirmed that China's regulatory system for the export of poultry was equivalent to that of the US, allowing China to export poultry made of raw materials from approved countries to the US. But it did not allow the import of poultry products made of Chinese domestic raw materials.
The move came as the two world's largest economies have been involved in a year-long trade war. Since the trade friction initiated by the US more than one year ago, the two have held rounds of negotiations.
The US measure also shows that the focus of negotiations has come down to specific products. It is a positive sign that two sides are moving toward reaching a deal, Li said.
"Focusing on specific products also means that the two governments are pushing toward a more pragmatic solution," Li said.