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Chance for EU to Grow Share of Chinese Pork Imports

by 5m Editor
13 January 2010, at 8:01am

CHINA - For most of 2009, Chinese pork importers were faced with challenges including the economic slow-down, increased domestic production and weaker demand as a result of H1N1, writes Breiffini Kennedy, Asia Manager, Bord Bia.

Whilst the market eases before Spring Festival, importers are looking forward to increased demand in 2010. And many will be looking to the EU.

Whilst last year overall import volumes declined, the EU increased its share of imports. In 2008 the EU accounted for 42 per cent of Chinese pork imports, this increased to 60 per cent of imports in 2009. Canadian and US volumes declined by a combined 190,000 tonnes.

The causes for the decline in North American volumes are varied. Some challenges impacted the US more than the EU, resulting in US share of the market crashing from nearly 50 per cent in 2008 to under 20 per cent last year. For instance, in 2008, US exports to China increased as a result of Beijing’s reaction to domestic price inflation. This was not to be repeated in 2009.

US imports were more severely impacted by outbreak of H1N1 as China suspended pork imports from regions affected in the US. Some trade contacts have also noted the ongoing issue with North American use of hormones, not used by EU suppliers, on pigs.

In 2009, Spain benefited significantly on China’s switch from North American to EU pork.

Germany and the UK anxiously await market approval.

Further growth prospects exist for EU pork in China for the coming year.