China's move to resume USA poultry imports allows it to get more protein into the diets of its population, as well as demonstrate to US negotiators the willingness to meaningfully open its market.
Beijing banned U.S. poultry and eggs in January 2015 because of a U.S. outbreak of avian flu, closing a market that bought $500 million worth of American poultry products in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Major US chicken processors like Sanderson Farms, Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride saw their stock value climb to year highs on Thursday, following the announcement.
The U.S. and China are locked in a trade war over American allegations that the Chinese are deploying predatory tactics - including stealing trade secrets - in an aggressive drive to challenge U.S. technological dominance.
The lifting of the ban is "great news for both America's farmers and China's consumers", Lighthizer said.
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-China trade talks hit a snag over China's reluctance to commit to a specific dollar-target for purchases of US agricultural goods.
In Washington, the US Trade Representative's office welcomed the decision, saying it should help drive annual US poultry exports above $1 billion. Big differences over China's technology policies were largely unaddressed and left for future negotiations.
Lighthizer said that the US had been free of the disease since August 2017.
The two sides are conducting thorough talks on a phase one deal and removing existing tariffs is an important condition for an agreement, a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman reiterated at a regular briefing on Thursday.
China pressed Washington on Thursday to roll back punitive tariffs. White House trade hawks view those tariffs as a key source of leverage, as they attempt to pressure China to change the way it manages its economy.
The USMCA, which overhauls the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly known as NAFTA, requires 75 percent of automobile components be manufactured in the United States, Canada and Mexico in order to avoid tariffs, and that 40 to 45 percent of automobile parts be made by workers who earn at least $16 an hour by 2023.