Australia Should Provide Full Market Access for U.S. Pork
Australia has restrictions on U.S. pork, prohibiting the sale of chilled and frozen U.S. pork in the retail market. There is no scientific or legal justification for this unfair trade barrier, which should be eliminated.
Pork is the largest U.S. agricultural export to Australia, but the country imposes inconsistent restrictions on U.S. pork that are significantly hampering pork producers’ ability to sell product down there. Australia limits U.S. pork imports for the retail market to products that are heat-processed or frozen and boneless for further processing because of what it claims are risks associated with the transmission of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus to the Australian swine herd. These restrictions are inconsistent with international standards and scientific findings.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) does not believe PRRS can be spread through the trading of pork. The OIE’s PRRS chapter states that “meat products” are a safe commodity and that “veterinary authorities should not require any PRRS-related conditions, regardless of the PRRS status of the exporting country, zone, or compartment.”
The risk of introducing PRRS into the Australian swine herd from the importation of U.S. pork is negligible. There never has been a case of PRRS being transmitted through the shipment of fresh, chilled or frozen pork from a PRRS-positive nation to a PRRS-negative country. Similar island countries accept U.S. pork without such restrictions. In New Zealand, for example, the import of approximately 60,000 tons of fresh, chilled and frozen pork from PRRS-positive countries over a 12-year period failed to produce a single outbreak. It’s worth noting that the absence of a PRRS outbreak occurred at a time when phytosanitary restrictions did not exist or was not strongly enforced.
Australia has insisted that additional research is needed. It rejects independent analysis that supports NPPC’s position, a blatant stall tactic it has employed for more than two decades.
is the largest U.S. agricultural export to Australia despite that country’s retail market access restrictions.
Nearly 59,000 metric tons
of U.S. pork, valued at $197 million, was exported to Australia in 2021, up from 3,400 metrics tons in 2004, the year before the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement went into effect.
of consumer-oriented food was imported by Australia in 2020, with the United States accounting for $1.2 billion, or 12% of that, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service-Global Agricultural Information Network.
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