U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine joined a bipartisan group of nine senators to write a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the United States Trade Representative urging them to provide for open markets and fair trade of U.S. chicken products, which would benefit poultry growers in Virginia and nationwide.
The letter, which was sent to Secretary Tom Vilsack and Ambassador Michael Froman, states that lifting trade restrictions by several countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and japan would allow the U.S. to expand chicken exports and bring increased economic benefits to chicken producers and companies across the country.
“The U.S. chicken industry is a major economic driver in communities across the country. The industry supports over 1 million jobs and generates over $200 billion in annual economic impact,” the Senators wrote. “There is incredible potential to grow the level of exports from the U.S, and addressing these barriers to U.S. chicken products during the TPP negotiations is critical to making that potential a reality.”
According to the Virginia Poultry Federation, Virginia’s poultry industry employs more than 13,000 people across the Commonwealth and generates an additional 28,530 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. As of 2012, Virginia ranks 10th nationally in broiler chicken production.