U.S. Officials Seek Export Agreement with South Korea

United States officials are urgently seeking an agreement to export eggs to South Korea, which is battling the worst-ever series of bird flu outbreaks in its history.

South Korea earlier lifted a ban on imports of table eggs from the U.S. imposed after the latter was hit by bird flu last year.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the two sides are currently negotiating over terms of potential shipments.

If an agreement is finalized, it would be beneficial for both sides.

The imports from the U.S. would relieve South Korea of high egg prices and rationing while the shipments would help American farmers cope with the oversupply of eggs that is depressing prices in the local market.

Mark Perigan, national supervisor for shell eggs of the USDA, said that the United States could finalize an agreement with South Korea as early as next week.

“They’re desperate for eggs over there, and the government realizes that,” Perigen said.

U.S. egg prices have plunged as American. farmers increased their production after experiencing bird flu last year.

According to USDA, the country produced 7.44 billion table eggs in November, up 11.5 percent from last year, and there were 312 million hens laying table eggs on December 1, up 8 percent from the year before.

The average price for a dozen large white U.S. eggs was $1.17, down from a high of $2.88 in August 2015.

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