U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) leads 18 senators urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ton Kirk to hold China to its promise of reopening its markets to American pork exports.

“Minnesota and pork producers across the nation should not continue to be unfairly denied access to Chinese markets,” Klobuchar says. “I will continue to push the administration to hold China accountable for its commitments and to expand opportunities for U.S. exports overseas.”

The discovery of the H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus has hurt international demand for U.S. pork, despite no known link between eating pork products and the virus. U.S. producers have faced increased trade barriers as China and other countries used the H1N1 virus as a means of blocking American pork products and boosting domestic industries.

Following the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in October, U.S. officials announced that China had pledged to reopen its market to U.S. pork and follow scientific guidelines for accepting imported meat.