Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined a bipartisan group of 37 senators in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to push the Chinese government to end its ban on the sale of American poultry products.

The ban was instituted by China in 2015 due to the detection of a wild duck with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and continues to be enforced today, in contradiction of World Health Organization for Animal Health standards.

“Poultry is produced in almost every state. For communities and states that rely on a thriving and growing poultry industry, these agreements are essential to a strong and vibrant future,” said the senators in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who visited Delaware earlier this week at the request of the congressional delegation.

The U.S. is considered the largest poultry producer in the world and the second biggest poultry meat exporter, with nearly 18 percent of its product shipped to foreign markets. Delaware ranks eighth in the nation in value of poultry production and Sussex County ranks No.1 among America's counties in meat chicken production, according to the Delmarva Poultry Institute. Most of the grain grown in Delaware is used for chicken feed.

“The poultry industry provides thousands of high quality jobs in our rural communities and the reopening of the Chinese market would provide a huge boost for these rural areas. We encourage you to remain focused on the next steps to officially reopen the Chinese market as soon as possible,” added the senators.

The full text is available at bit.ly/2uJOTjD.