WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reached a regionalization agreement with China on March 23 for safe trade of poultry products.

The agency said it used regionalization so US regions that are unaffected by foreign animal disease outbreaks, including highly pathogenic avian influenza and virulent Newcastle disease, can continue international trade.

The deal is part of the United States-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement that was signed in February.

“The agreement with China allows trade of poultry products to continue from unaffected regions of the country should the US detect any future cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza or virulent Newcastle disease,” said APHIS in a statement.

The United States agreed to implement regionalization for Chinese poultry products once China has officially recognized free-zones in place. Both countries also said it would not impose trade restrictions on each other for findings of low pathogenic avian influenza.

“The regionalization agreement details numerous steps the US and China must take if high pathogenicity avian influenza is found in poultry to ensure the safety of the birds,” APHIS continued. “These steps include controlling the area, notifying the other country, suspension of imports and exports, culling and disinfection, monitoring the situation, and resumption of imports and exports.”