After months of uncertainty, China has formally announced that it will accept shipments of U.S. pork, a move hailed by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Pork produced on or after May 1 is eligible for shipment.

China closed its ports to U.S. pork in late April 2009 during the outbreak of H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus which was incorrectly named swine flu.

The United States and China had reached an agreement in March to reopen the Chinese market to U.S. pork imports, but it took China until now to begin accepting product.

In 2008, China/Hong Kong was the third-largest destination for U.S. pork when 440,000 tons were shipped worth nearly $690 million. Last year, pork sales to that region fell 38% to just under $427 million.

China announced last October that it would rescind its pork import ban, and NPPC has been working closely with the Obama Administration to prod China to actually lift its ban and begin accepting U.S. pork imports.

NPPC is still urging U.S. administrative officials to encourage China to resolve other trade restrictions on U.S. pork including:

  • China’s ban on U.S. pork produced with ractopamine, a feed ingredient approved by the Food and Drug Administration that improves efficiency in pork production;
  • Subsidies China provides its domestic pork producers; and
  • A value-added tax that China imposes on imports.

For more details, go to www.nppc.org.