WASHINGTON – The United States and South Africa have finally reached an agreement that reopens the South African poultry market to US-produced bone-in cuts of chicken.

The Office of the US Trade Representative and the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced the agreement in a joint statement issued June 5. Reuters reported initial exports of US poultry will total 65,000 tonnes per year.

The US Poultry and Egg Export Council said negotiations were led by the US USTR, the Department of State, US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard and trade experts from industry.

The deal provides for the return of exports of US bone-in chicken parts to South Africa after both governments complete the necessary steps required to implement the agreement.

“We look forward to working with our government and the South Africans on implementing this important agreement,” USAPEEC said in a statement. “The real winners will be South Africa’s consumers who will soon have access to additional and affordable protein choices.”

Federal lawmakers from Delaware applauded the agreement.

“This is great news for farmers across America and especially in Delaware, where we have 300 chickens for every person in our state,” Carper said. “Unfortunately our poultry farmers in the First State, who create more than $4.6 billion in economic activity each year, face trade barriers in countries all over the world. In South Africa — the largest potential poultry market on the African continent — unfair trade practices have kept our chicken farmers out of that market to this point.”

South Africa is currently the United States’ 38th largest trading partner with $15.8 billion in total (two ways) goods trade during 2013. Poultry meat exports totaled $24 million in 2013, according to USTR data.