Brazil is back in China’s market as the first shipments of Brazilian pork are expected to start moving in early 2012. Some authorized production companies can export the meat starting in November, according to an official with the Brazilian Association of Pork Meat Producers (Abipecs).

Pedro de Camargo Neto, chairman of Abipecs, told the Brazilian press that even though authorized companies could begin exporting pork to China yet this year, early 2012 is the more likely timeline. He estimates that in the first 12 months, the companies will export a total of 50,000 tons of pork to China.

The two countries signed an agreement last April to authorize pork exports from Brazil to China from three refrigeration facilities, run by the Aurora cooperative (Santa Catarina), e-BrasilFoods (Goiás) and Marfrig (Rio Grande do Sul).

According to a USDA study published this month, the Chinese are expected to consume over 51 million tons of pork in 2012. That’s 4 percent more than the estimated amount for this year.

Food inflation, driven by pork prices—the Chinese preferred meat—has been high and bothersome for government officials there. They are attempting to entice the country’s pork producers through subsidies to increase production. China also has increased its pork purchases from exporters such as the United States. 

U.S. exports to China have surged this summer, with August setting a monthly volume record at 35,636 metric tons. For the first eight months of 2011, sales to China have been up 336 percent (188,622 metric tons) in volume than for that same period in 2010. That timeframe also produced a 237 percent increase in value ($316.8 million).

The U.S. pork industry has its sights set on growing its sales to China. Brazil is the United States’ most direct and viable competitor in the Asian market.