June 8, 2011


China imposes costlier meat import labelling rules


China has started to implement new labelling requirements on imported meat products that will make the export of pork there a costly deal for US processors, a US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) said.


Particularly problematic, said Thad Lively, the organisation's senior vice president for trade access, is China's insistence that exporters weigh and label individual packages of pork. The requirement will be a disincentive for US processors because China is a high-volume market, and most products are lower in value and do not generate high profit margins, he said.


"By and large we're talking about very low-value items going in large quantities. So to cover the cost of making some of the changes in the plant that would be required to literally meet these requirements as written- it's going to be very difficult for companies to do that," Lively said.


China implemented the new rules on June 1. USMEF has been working with US and Chinese trade officials for several months to reach a compromise, but thus far without success.


Though closed to US beef, the Chinese market imported nearly 140 million pounds of US pork and pork variety meat, valued at US$94 million, in the first quarter of the year.

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