After delisting virtually all U.S. plants by the end of last year, Russia has announced that it will again accept U.S. pork.
“We are very pleased that Russia is reopening its market to U.S. pork; it’s a very important decision for our products,” says National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Don Butler. “NPPC also is very appreciative of the efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Trade Representative in getting this deal done.”
Since December 2009, USDA and the Russian Veterinary Service have been in negotiations. Those talks led to the development of a new veterinary certificate to ensure that U.S. pork exports meet specific Russian microbiological and tetracycline group antibiotic residue requirements.
The next step is for U.S. plants that want to export to Russia to apply for approval with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
The United States was the number five market for pork sales to Russia in 2008, shipping 307 million pounds of pork and pork variety meat valued at $476 million. Last year, sales declined to 480 million pounds valued at $289 million, due to a ban on U.S. pork related to the H1N1 flu concern, the global economic downturn and Russia’s delisting of several U.S. pork plants.
Butler says the reopening of the Russian market is “great news for our producers, but we now need to get China to reopen its market to U.S. pork.”
China closed its market to U.S. pork in late April following early reports of the novel H1N1 flu outbreak. In December, China announced it would resume importing U.S. pork products, but has yet to do so. It recently announced an agreement to import Canadian pork.
“We’re losing pork sales to Canada and the European Union,” Butler says. “We need to get back into the Chinese market.”