March 25, 2010


Sino-US pork trade still shaky despite reopened markets



Last week's decision by China to lift the ban on US pork exports imposed in the wake of the AH1N1 outbreak does not mean US shipments can proceed without impediments.


Other trade restraints remain in effect, such as the Chinese ban on US pork produced with the chemical feed additive ractopamine, which was imposed in July 2007. The March 18 announcements of China's decision by the US Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA do not expressly state that the ractopamine ban remains in effect.


According to USDA and USTR, the country's pork and pig offal exports to China were valued at nearly US$275 million in 2008, reflecting trade flows with the ractopamine ban in effect. China was the seventh largest market for US pork and offal exports, accounting for 6% of all US pork and offal exports.


China's Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) agreed to accept a US proposal for resuming exports of US after negotiations with US officials. Trade will resume immediately once both sides finalise the export documentation, USDA said.


The export documentation is likely to contain some technical changes to the documentation that was in place before China imposed the AH1N1 ban on a state-by-state basis last year, one private-sector source said.


In addition, he does not expect the documentation to require US controls on whether the pork in question came from pigs that were fed ractopamine since the US government is unlikely to formally acknowledge the Chinese ban over the feed additive.


The Chinese decision to lift the AH1N1 trade restrictions follows up on an October 2009 promise made during the meeting of the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT).

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