Panjiva research shows surge in US pork exports to China

Panjiva, the research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence, shows dramatic increase in US pork exports to China, led by Brazil’s JBS and China’s WH Group.

23 September 2020, at 10:33am

According to reporting in Reuters, Panjiva’s research shows that US pork exports to China have surpassed pre-trade war levels and have been led by higher shipments from Brazil’s JBS SA and China’s WH Group Ltd, owner of Smithfield Foods.

JBS may have shipped 370 percent more US pork to China this year through 31 August than at the same period in 2017, while exports linked to WH Group rose 90.1 percent, Panjiva said Tuesday 22 September. Meanwhile, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc shipped 7.3 percent less pork to China compared to the same period in 2017.

US President Donald Trump in April ordered US meat processing plants to remain open to ensure domestic meat supplies despite COVID-19 outbreaks among workers.

JBS told Reuters in April, when plants across the United States were closing due to outbreaks, that it reduced exports to focus on meeting domestic demand.

JBS did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Democratic US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker in June asked meat companies how much they exported to China during the pandemic.

JBS said in response that its total market share of US pork to China had been less than 10 percent. Exports are comprised largely of products like pigs' feet and livers that American consumers generally do not eat, JBS said.

Smithfield, in an emailed statement to Reuters on Tuesday, said it would not give preference to foreign customers.

China agreed to import a record $36.5 billion in US farm goods in the Phase 1 trade deal signed in January, with pork expected to be key to reaching the mark.

Chinese demand is seen rising further after Beijing blocked imports from Germany, which has suffered an outbreak of a pig disease.

US meat production has recovered as plants have reopened after being hit by COVID-19. Frozen pork supplies in cold-storage facilities reached a three-month high in August, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

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