Citing Concerns Over Swine Flu, China Announces Ban On Import Of Pork And Pig Products From Germany

Swarajya Staff

Sep 14, 2020, 07:32 PM | Updated 07:32 PM IST

Pigs - Representative Image (ramboldheiner/Pixabay)
Pigs - Representative Image (ramboldheiner/Pixabay)

In a move seen as a preemptive strike to strengthen its negotiating position ahead of trade and investment talk with European Union, China on Saturday (Sep 14) announced a ban on the import of pork and pig products from Germany.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and custom officials said in a joint statement announced the ban on pork and pork products was intended to protect the domestic animal husbandry industry and prevent the spread of African swine fever. Last week, Germany confirmed a case of African swine fever in a wild boar. On Thursday (Sep 10), it emerged that the carcass of a wild boar found in the state of Brandenburg, near Berlin had been infected with the African swine fever, the first known case in Germany.

The move to block imports of pork from Germany comes even as China faces an unprecedented shortage of the meat after its own epidemic of the deadly hog disease.

The ban is likely to have a huge impact on Germany's pork industry, with exports to China worth around €1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year, representing some 25% of the EU country's export market.

China’s latest ban on German pork products is seen more as a political move as swine flu is common across China and has often wrecked havoc on its own pig population.

In 2019, a devastating outbreak of African swine fever ravaged Chinese farms resulting in deaths and culling of pigs, thus severely curtailing the supply of the country’s preferred protein. Consequently the retail pork prices touched 26.45 yuan per kg in the final week of June, up 33 per cent year on year and lifted the overall food prices to their highest in years. The pork inflation also recorded a three-year high in China.

After housing, food constitutes the biggest element in China’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) and pork has considerable weightage in the food basket and by some estimates amounts to about 2.5 per cent of the total inflation basket.

In 2008, an outbreak of blue ear disease ravaged Chinese hog farms and consequently pork prices spiked more than 80 per cent, driving the consumer price index as high as 8.7 per cent.

As the largest pork consumer in the world, China’s per capita pork consumption reached 39.9 kg in 2018, while for chicken and beef, it was 8.3 kg and 6.1 kg respectively.

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