China To Lift H1N1-Related Ban On U.S. Pork

October 29, 2009

Contact: Dave Warner 202-347-3600

Washington, D.C., October 29, 2009 – With prodding from the Obama administration, China today announced that it will lift its ban on U.S. pork imports, a move hailed by the National Pork Producers Council.

The Asian nation implemented the ban on U.S. pork in late April in the wake of an outbreak in humans of novel H1N1 influenza, which the media misnamed “swine” flu.

“This is good news for U.S. pork producers, who have been suffering through an economic crisis for the past two years,” said NPPC President Don Butler. “China is, by far, the largest potential money-making opportunity for the U.S. pork industry.”

The U.S. pork industry shipped nearly 400,000 metric tons of pork worth nearly $690 million to China in 2008, making it the No. 3 destination for U.S. pork. This year, due mostly to the H1N1-related ban, U.S. pork exports to China through August were down by 50 percent over the same period last year.

“A Chinese market reasonably open to U.S. pork would single-handedly put a huge dent in the U.S.-China trade imbalance,” Butler said.

China’s announcement came at the conclusion of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting in Hangzhou, China. The bilateral forum was held to resolve trade issues between the countries. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke attended the meeting. Re-opening the Chinese market to U.S. pork was at the top of their agenda.

“China’s intent to remove its H1N1-related ban on U.S. pork marks an important step forward in cooperation between the countries on agriculture issues,” said Vilsack.

“NPPC would like to thank the Obama administration, particularly Sec. Vilsack and Ambassador Kirk, and Congress for pressing China to re-open its market to U.S. pork,” said Butler. “And we would ask that they continue to work with the Chinese government on other trade issues that are hampering our pork exports to China.”

Among those issues are China’s ban on U.S. pork produced with ractopamine, an FDA-approved feed additive that improves efficiency in pork production, and the subsidies China provides its domestic pork producers. The Chinese pork industry also derives significant benefits from an exemption from corporate income taxes and a partial exemption from the country’s value-added tax.

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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 67,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org