September 16, 2005


USDA: Hong Kong poultry and products annual 2005


Hong Kong's 2006 imports of chilled/frozen poultry meat are expected to increase by 7 percent.


In the wake of avian influenza (AI) concerns and governmental policy, Hong Kong consumers are expected to continue to shift away from eating locally produced and imported live chickens from Mainland China, which are then slaughtered in Hong Kong wet markets, in favor of imported chilled whole birds from Mainland China and frozen poultry from the United States, Brazil and China. 


Meanwhile, the percentage of frozen poultry meat and feet imported into Hong Kong and re-exported to Mainland China is expected to continue to decline - 74% in 2003, 37% in 2004 and 27% in 2005 as U.S. and Brazilian exporters ship direct to Mainland China.


Effective April 30, 2005, the Hong Kong government required new certification requirement for U.S. poultry feet (paws) imports to Hong Kong. According to trade sources this change has resulted in 50% reduction in imports. 


The possibility of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Mainland China could temporarily disrupt live, chilled and frozen poultry imports from China into Hong Kong and give U.S. and Brazilian exporters a temporary supply advantage. 


Recent food safety scares related to strep suis in pork imported from Mainland China and malachite green in eels and freshwater fish has eroded Hong Kong consumer confidence in the safety of Mainland food products.


In 2004, Hong Kong total market for all chicken products amounted to US$545 million, including live chickens (US$61 million), chilled and frozen poultry (US$274 million), and chicken feet (paws) and re-exports. 


Brazil since 2004 has overtaken the U.S. as Hong Kong's largest supplier of chilled/frozen chicken meat in terms of value. Brazilian products successfully expanded their market share when U.S. chicken products were banned in Hong Kong in early 2004. 


In 2004, the import of U.S. products to Hong Kong amounted to US$152 million including paws and re-exports.


The total amount of live chickens produced in Hong Kong will decline from 3.7 million head to 2 million head by the end of 2005 as local producers surrender their licenses in response to the Hong Kong government's initiative to address public health concerns related to future AI outbreaks. 


For the full USDA report, click here.