A seven-year ban on Virginia poultry exports to China was lifted on Monday, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced.
The ban was issued in July 2007 after a case of bird flu was reported on a Virginia farm. Since then, China has maintained a ban on all poultry produced in Virginia, transiting through Virginia, or exported from any port in Virginia.
According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture, Virginia officials have contended that China’s ban was not justified by scientific data because the isolated occurrence of bird flu did not pose a food safety or poultry health risk.
Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry, providing more than 310,000 jobs and generating more than $52 billion per year. China is Virginia’s largest market for agricultural exports with more than $580 million in purchases. Virginia poultry exports exceeded $186 million in 2013 and with the re-addition of China to the market, Virginia stands to gain an additional $20 million or more in export sales.