After 15 years of negotiations, China was admitted to the World Trade Organization Sept. 17. Negotiations had been snagged over the conditions for entry for international insurance companies into China, but a compromise was reached at the last moment.

For the pork industry, the agreement will mean increased U.S. exports to China, which could add as much as $5 per hundredweight to the price of U.S. hogs, according to one study. U.S. pork variety meats alone could add $5 of value to each U.S. hog says Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University agricultural economist.

“There may be somewhat of an immediate uptick,” says Nick Giordano, trade counsel for the National Pork Producers Council. “This is not an overnight sensation, but over time the United States should sell substantially more pork to China and Taiwan.”

Over the next four years, both countries will be working to reduce tariffs on goods imported from the United States, with China reducing tariffs on U.S. pork from the current 20 percent to 18 percent, 16 percent, 14 percent and finally 12 percent over a four-year period.

Taiwan was cleared for admission the day after China gained admission to the WTO. Terms for Taiwan’s admission were completed 18 months ago, but the final decision was delayed because of a 1992 understanding that China would join first.

“Don’t forget about Taiwan,” says Giordano. “The size of the market isn’t as large, but we have a good deal negotiated with them and the market looks to grow in the future.”

The current economic and political state of the world cast some questions over the future of the pork trade, but Giordano is hopeful that there will not be too much disruption.

“One constant positive, regardless of economic situations in either country, is the fact that China and Taiwan, both have a huge demand for variety meats,” says Giordano.

China could almost absorb the world’s supply of variety meats, which consist of many cuts that hold little or no value in the United States, says Giordano.