China begins accepting U.S. pork shipments

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 14 – China gave official notice Friday that it is accepting shipments of U.S. pork, a move hailed by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Pork produced on or after May 1 now can be exported to China.

The Asian nation closed its market to U.S. pork in late April 2009 in the wake of an outbreak in humans of novel H1N1 influenza, which the media misnamed “swine” flu. In March, the United States and China reached an agreement to reopen the Chinese market to U.S. pork imports, but it took China until now to begin accepting product.

 “This is tremendous news for U.S. pork producers,” said NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, Iowa. “China is one of our biggest markets, so being able to ship pork there is extremely important to the U.S. pork industry. Now that it can be sent to the Chinese market, we will focus on the remaining impediments to exporting U.S. pork to China,” Carney said.

 NPPC is continuing to urge the Obama administration to press China to address a number of other trade-related issues that limit U.S. pork imports. Among those issues are China’s ban on U.S. pork produced with ractopamine (an FDA-approved feed ingredient which improves efficiency in pork production), subsidies which China provides to its domestic pork producers, and a value-added tax China imposes on imports.

The U.S. pork industry exported nearly 400,000 metric tons of pork worth nearly $690 million to China/Hong Kong in 2008, making China/Hong Kong the No. 3 destination for U.S. pork. Last year, U.S. pork exports to China/Hong Kong were down by 38 percent, falling to just under $427 million.

In October, at the conclusion of the annual U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting, China announced that it would rescind its pork import ban. Since then, NPPC worked closely with the Obama administration to pressure the Chinese to actually lift their ban and begin accepting U.S. pork imports.

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