South Korea, still reeling from its worst-ever bird flu outbreak, lifted a ban on imports of poultry and eggs from the United States.
The Asian country limited U.S. poultry imports in March after a case of bird flu was detected on a commercial chicken farm in Tennessee.
Before the ban, South Korea was importing more eggs from the U.S. and the American egg farmers look to resume the trading frenzy. “They are in desperate need still,” said Jim Sumner, president of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council, a trade group.
South Korea was hit hard by the deadly H5N8 bird flu strain after the first case was confirmed in November. The disease led to a record culling of more than 37 million farm birds, more than a fifth of its total poultry population.
Last month, South Korea’s government downgraded its bird flu alert by one notch from the highest level, after more than a month passed without new cases.
In 2014, the last full year without any bird flu-related U.S. trade restrictions in place, South Korea purchased $122 million in U.S. poultry products, including eggs, making it the United States’ tenth-largest market.
South Korea’s imports from all countries exceeded $350 million in 2016, but only $39 million came from the United States.