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WPE REPORT: Flu Fears Hit US Exports

03 June 2009

US - Illegitimate bans on US pork because of concerns over H1N1 influenza are continuing, despite pork being declared safe, writes ThePigSite Senior Editor Chris Harris reporting from the World Pork Expo in Des Moines.

Nick Giordiano from the National Pork Producers Council, reporting on the US international pork trade situation at the Expo, said that last year had seen US pork exports go through the roof, with a rise of about 50 per cent.

However, he said that while the industry did not expect similar trade this year, the industry had been severely hit by restrictions on exports because of "swine flu".

He said that exports had been virtually completely banned to China, the US's second largest market after Japan.

And Russia has banned exports from about 10 states in the US.

He said that the industry had not expected export to be at the same level as last year, and in fact in the first three months of the year they had grown to China.

However, the concerns over H1N1 influenza that came to a head in April had decimated these markets.

Mr Giordiano announced that a mission to Russia that is taking place this week is hoped to ease the situation and he hopes to see markets reopened.

"I am hopeful that the ban will be lifted in both Russia and China," he said.

Mr Giordiano said that most other countries around the world had raised their initial bans, although restrictions in Ukraine, which is a $30 million market for the US, continue as do restrictions in other smaller markets such as Thailand.

"The US is the number one low cost producer and exporter and we are in a good position to capture new market access," said Mr Giordiano.

"In the long term exports are going to be great and the NPPC is going to do all it can to support trade agreements and a successful outcome to the Doha round."

ThePigSite News Desk



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