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HK opens border to live chickens
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-20 22:51

A batch of 2,000 live chickens from a company in Shenzhen was shipped to Hong Kong Tuesday marking the resumption of mainland live poultry shipments banned since the bird flu outbreak.

A dealer sells live chicken in a Zhejiang market in this March 18, 2004 file photo. [newsphoto]
The batch from South China's Guangdong Province was the first to be sent to Hong Kong after 80 days.

A total of 6,000 live chickens were offered to Hong Kong by the Chinese mainland Tuesday, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Hong Kong announced last Thursday it would resume imports for three days on a trial basis.

Meanwhile, officials said no new bird flu cases have been found in China since the country lifted restrictions of the last two affected areas on March 16.

But Jia Youling, chief veterinarian and spokesman on bird flu control for the Ministry of Agriculture said no efforts should be spared to prevent and control the disease.

To date 22 countries and regions have resumed, or partly resumed, importing poultry and avian products from the Chinese mainland, said an official with the animal inspection and quarantine office.

For example, 35 Chinese companies have been allowed to export cooked poultry to Japan and on April 15, 92 tons of cooked chickens made by a Beijing company were shipped to Japan, media reports said.

To date, however, only Hong Kong has resumed the import of live poultry on a trial basis, while others, such as Japan and the Republic of Korea, are only importing cooked products.

As a result, China has only seen a very limited rebound in the quantity of exported live poultry and unprocessed avian products, said the official surnamed You.

It will take time for bans on imports of poultry and avian products from the Chinese mainland to be fully lifted, You said.

He said there are still 28 countries and regions where Chinese poultry and avian products are banned.

According to Xia Hongmin, head of the administration's supervision department on the inspection and quarantine of animals and plants, strict measures are in place to ensure Hong Kong people eat quality and healthy poultry.

During the three-day trial period, Hong Kong will be supplied with 6,000 live chickens each day and if everything goes smoothly, the quantity will be increased according to the market demand in Hong Kong.

The resumption was hailed by Chinese companies, as Ye Haiyan, general manager of the Shenzhen company which supplied 2,000 live chickens Tuesday, said that his company had been facing difficulties since Hong Kong halted the import of mainland poultry.

During the outbreak of bird flu, nearly 9 million poultry were slaughtered in China. The first case in the country was confirmed in Dingdang Town in Long'an County, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on January 27.

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