Pork prices in China continue to rise, up 14% since the start of the year and nearly 40% from a year ago. Data released in June showed prices climbing as producers slowed slaughter to rebuild herds, following widespread culling in 2014 when prices were low. Pork supply also has been suppressed by environmental measures introduced in 2010 that forced many smaller pig farmers out of business. Several municipal governments, including Beijing, Dalian and Qingdao, have begun to release frozen pork reserves to ease the pressure on prices.
The National Pork Producers Council continues to work on behalf of U.S. pork producers to increase exports to China. In 2015, the largest barrier to access to the Chinese market was the delisting of a small number of U.S. plants that were approved to export to that country. NPPC worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to get the plants relisted. (The majority of plants and cold storage facilities were relisted late last and early this year.)
U.S. pork exports to China also are limited because of that country’s ban on ractopamine. NPPC wants China to adhere to science-based regulations and the U.N. Codex Alimentarius Commission maximum residue levels for ractopamine. In the interim, NPPC has supported the creation and use of two USDA programs to certify that U.S. pork products exported to China are ractopamine-free. Additionally, provisions of a bilateral agreement between China and the United States, don’t allow U.S. processed meat exports to the Asian nation. But China recently agreed to a proposed U.S. pilot program to accept processed meat. NPPC is hopeful that a successful pilot program will result in full access for U.S. processed pork products to China.