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China backs poultry trade amid bird flu scares

December 19, 2005

China backs poultry trade amid bird flu scares

By Sayed Salahuddin

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has urged local governments to ensure the survival of the poultry trade after about 30 outbreaks of bird flu this year. 

China has culled more than 20 million birds after outbreaks in more than 10 provinces and has banned poultry exports from areas hit by the H5N1 strain deadly to humans until after quarantines are lifted. 

But some local governments had restricted the movement of healthy poultry products, the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said on Monday. 

China has urged local governments to ensure the survival of the poultry trade after about 30 outbreaks of bird flu this year. A man seen feeding chickens in a suburb of Hefei in east China's Anhui province, in this December 16, 2005 file photo. (REUTERS/China Newsphoto)
"Relevant places should ... resolutely eliminate regional protection barriers that affect the normal circulation of qualified poultry and poultry products," it quoted a cabinet notice as saying. 

Despite the tightly centralised political system, local governments in China have been gaining more economic autonomy since market-oriented reforms started in the 1980s. 

However, the state-run Outlook Weekly magazine this month accused regionalism of "hurting central authority" and preventing China from setting up a unified nationwide market. 

China's top veterinarian, Jia Youling, warned last week of the possibility of fresh bird flu outbreaks with greater movement of poultry during the Lunar New Year holiday in January. 

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