RICHMOND, Va. – China is opening its markets to Virginia poultry after a seven-year ban.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that poultry exports to China will resume after China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) rescinded a ban in place since 2007.

“This is outstanding news for Virginia’s poultry industry and the many related businesses that work to move product from our family farms into the global marketplace,” said Gov. McAuliffe. “Strengthening Virginia’s economy is my number one priority and the lifting of this ban is certainly good news for Virginia’s economy. Poultry is the largest individual sector of Virginia’s agriculture industry and increased exports will help support farm, processing, and transportation related jobs in the Commonwealth. This will also bring enormous business benefits to the Port of Virginia at a critical time for that entity.”

China implemented the ban following an isolated case of low pathogenic avian influenza reported on a Virginia farm. The ban included poultry produced in Virginia, poultry transitioning through Virginia and poultry exported from a port in the state. Gov. McAuliffe said getting the ban rescinded was the result of team work by staff from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) in coordination with officials from the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

China was the No. 1 market for Virginia’s agricultural exports in 2013 with more than $580 million in purchases. The total value of Virginia poultry exports exceeded $186 million in 2013, not including exports to China.

“Based on China’s current poultry purchases from other nearby states, we believe that Virginia stands to gain $20 million or more in export sales each year,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “China is a good market for certain items that are not of high value in the domestic market, but can be an important income generator for poultry processors. Chicken feet and wing tips are considered a delicacy in some parts of China. Reopening the market to these Virginia products adds commercial value to the product. Chicken feet and wing tips may be worth a few cents per pound in the domestic market but can sell for many times this amount in China.”