Home GRASP GRASP/Korea U. S. scrambles to clear egg exports to bird flu-hit Korea

U. S. scrambles to clear egg exports to bird flu-hit Korea

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NewsHubSouth Korea banned imports of U. S. table eggs last year after the United States grappled with its own bout of bird flu.
If a new agreement is reached, U. S. shipments could bring some relief to South Koreans who have faced soaring egg prices and rationing since the outbreak there began last month.
The egg shipments also would help U. S. farmers cope with an oversupply that is depressing prices.
About 26 million birds, more than a quarter of South Korea’s poultry stock, have been culled to control the outbreak, and most of the birds have been egg-laying hens.
The opportunity to profit by filling the resulting shortfall with U. S. eggs has sent brokers and traders into overdrive.
Strains of bird flu, which can be spread by wild birds, have been detected across Asia and in Europe in recent weeks. Two people in China and one person in Hong Kong have died in the outbreaks.
The United States could reach agreement to resume trade with South Korea as early as next week, said Mark Perigen, national supervisor for shell eggs for a division of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
“Everybody’s working hard to get it done,” Perigen said in an interview on Friday, adding that USDA employees had worked during holiday vacations on the issue.
“They’re desperate for eggs over there, and the government realizes that,” Perigen said.
South Korea’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

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