The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) today said it expects that the restrictions placed on U.S. pork exports by certain nations based on concerns about the H1N1 virus will be temporary.

“The restrictions should be short-lived because the United States and international authorities have made it clear that the H1N1 virus is transmitted through human contact and that pork is 100% safe to consume,” remarks NPPC Vice President and International Trade Counsel Nick Giordano. “NPPC has been in constant contact with U.S. trade officials, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk have been busy working the phones with our trading partners. It is imperative that our trade officials stop the export bleeding now.”

The World Health Organization has proclaimed that the virus was misnamed “swine flu” and there is no justification for trade bans on U.S. pigs or pork products.

Despite those facts, Ukraine, St. Lucia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Honduras and Croatia have banned U.S. pork imports. Russia, China and Kazakhstan have banned U.S. pork imports from certain states.

“The U.S. pork industry maintains the capacity to serve the Chinese and Russian markets from non-restricted states,” Giordano says. “The other nations account for only a very small percentage of U.S. pork exports.”

Pork exports in 2008 accounted for more than 20% of total U.S. pork production and added about $48 per market hog and supported more than 65,000 jobs.

The creation of new export opportunities and the maintenance of current export markets are critical to the sustainability of the U.S. pork industry, according to NPPC.