U.S. pork exports to China will continue to grow, according to a new report, 'China's Volatile Pork Industry,' by USDA's Economic Research Service.
Increases in production costs, animal disease epidemics, environmental challenges, and food safety concerns limit the expansion of China’s domestic pork industry, according to the report. The issues have made pork imports increasingly competitive, and desirable, in the world's largest consumer of pork.
China's annual pork output is four to five times that of the United States, say the report authors, Fred Gale, Daniel Marti, and Dinghuan Hu. According to official Chinese statistics, China slaughters over 600 million hogs annually. China also consumes over 120,000 tons of pork daily, according to estimates.
Many Chinese consumers prefer pork products such as tails, ears, stomachs, tongues, hearts, livers, feet and hocks-- commonly referred to as as variety meats, or offal.
With its rapidly expanding economy, growing middle class and limited capacity to expand production, China will need to turn to imports to satisfy its increasing demand for pork. Rapidly rising pork prices became a national concern in China during 2007 and again more recently in 2011.
China’s pork industry is constantly "buffeted by a range of influences, including swine diseases, feed prices and policy, seasonal consumption patterns, demand for other meats, and macroeconomic factors, according to the report.The outlook for pork exports to China is favorable. Volatility in China’s domestic market however, may also cause volatility in export sales.
U.S. pork exports to the Hong Kong/China region in 2011 were up 64 percent in volume to 483,323 metric tons equalling $910 million-- a new record .
Read the full report.