U.S.  pork industry leaders have returned after meetings with Chinese industry and government representatives on pork trade issues. The meetings took place during a nine day visit to Beijing. The travel coincided with China’s hosting of the bi-annual International Meat Secretariat World Pork Congress and was organized by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

U.S.  delegation members from USMEF, National Pork Board, and National Pork Producers Council, met with key pork organizations in Beijing to discuss the U.S.-China trade relationship. Talks centered on the current disruption of U.S. pork exports to China due to that country’s zero tolerance policy on ractopamine residues.

The meetings also provided an opportunity for the U.S. pork industry to reiterate its interest in supplying pork during the current market shortage in China, which has seen short hog supplies and near-term record prices. The team also met with senior trade officials, including the Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce and Madame Ma Xiu Hong who oversee all U.S.-China bilateral trade issues. The delegation cited its presence in China as an indication of its desire to expedite a solution that would allow normal trade to resume.

U.S. pork industry leaders offered to share any information available to assure Chinese officials of U.S. pork safety, and ideas were exchanged with Chinese quarantine officials on the possibility of conducting a risk assessment on the safety of ractopamine. China outlawed the compound in 2002. Officials stated in their meetings last week that China’s aversion to beta agonists stems from past improper usage of the beta agonist Clenbuterol. . 

China now produces approximately 9 million tons of processed meat and output continues to expand by double digits. But with the top 10 companies still accounting for a relatively low share of this output, more industry consolidation is in store, according to speakers at the conference. “The China/Hong Kong market is the fourth largest for U.S. pork exports,” said USMEF President and CEO Phil Seng. “Therefore, Chinese pork market dynamics are of great interest and importance to our industry.”

Through July, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to China, buoyed by the current strong market, increased 57 percent in volume to 57,166 metric tons (126 million pounds) and 68 percent in value over the pace of the same period last year. 

Source: USMEF