Potential China action against EU pork may be double-edged sword for Brazil

EU may access new markets if it loses China
calendar icon 28 June 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

China's potential imposition of anti-dumping measures on European Union pork imports, a disastrous scenario for the bloc, could benefit Brazil's exporters but also affect the country's ability to compete elsewhere, reported Reuters, citing analysts and industry sources.

Chinese companies have asked for an anti-dumping probe into pork imports from the European Union, state-backed Chinese media have reported.

The potential for additional demand from China as a consequence of any anti-dumping measures is welcome for Brazilian exporters. Brazil is one of the top three sellers of pork to China, along with the US and EU.

But Brazil could face more competition in the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom, which are markets Europe could try to access if it loses China, Rabobank analyst Wagner Yanaguizawa said.

The Philippines became Brazil's second largest pork meat export market this year after China, with sales rising 85% through May by volume, Brazilian trade data shows.

"These countries would most likely shift part of their demand to the EU, because there would be an excess of meat [there]," Yanaguizawa said, stressing the bloc's logistical advantages over Brazil.

Brazilian meat lobby ABPA said market dynamics dictate that if one exporter stops serving a market, a competitor will fill in the gap. Brazilian pork processors operate at 85%-90% of capacity, according to ABPA, signaling there's room to boost supplies to some extent.

An industry source said Chinese restrictions on EU pork could be a double-edged sword, as it could result in European suppliers turning "aggressively" to markets currently served by Brazil. He also noted another potential scenario in which China would reduce pork imports, leading to global over-supply.

"I believe China will demand less than 2 million tons per year," the source said, adding that China's domestic production has recovered from the impact of African Swine Fever. China's pork imports slumped to 2.6 million tonnes last year from 5.6 million tons in 2020, according to China industry data.

Beijing's investigation into EU pork appears mainly aimed at Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark.

"If irregularities are found, European sales to the world's largest pork import market will be forced to look for other major destinations," consultancy Datagro said.

Brazil stands to gain from its good trade relations with China, but its own sales to other markets may lag, Datagro said citing the Philippines as an example, which currently accounts for 13% of Brazil's exports.

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