China continues struggling with meat imports as the unprecedented African swine flu sweeps across the country. The intense China-U.S. trade war might make the situation worse, as high tariffs are imposed on U.S. farm produce. Now Chinese meat importers are switching their attention to some other countries to fill the gap for meat demands. Here's CGTN's Li Jianhua with more.
A typical Chinese meat market. Pork can be seen everywhere, as it's many people's preferred meat. Every year, Chinese people consume an average of 55-million tons of pork.
But African swine flu has hit the Chinese pork market big time. Experts say pork prices may see a sharp rise in the second half of the year, and the rest of the world may feel the ripple effect.
LIU CHUNSHENG, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF FINANCE AND ECONOMICS "Demand for pigs is usually higher in the summer, but the lack of supply is creating an imbalance. It's reflected in pork and food prices and also seen in a CPI growth. There will be a great impact on the world market."
Imports of meats other than pork from overseas are witnessing an increase. This company, based in the Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has stocked up tons of beef and seafood as back up plans.
ZHENG WEISHENG CHAIRMAN, GUANGZHOU WAKAN GROUP "Since last year, our imports have increased by a fold. The domestic demand is huge. As for seafood, we are now importing from Russia and South America. For beef, we import from Argentina, and as with chicken, it's from Brazil and Argentina. And for pork, we import from Europe and Canada."
Zheng says his company has completely stopped importing from the U.S. due to the high tariffs on American farm produce. But some other countries are vying to snatch up China's colossal meat market.
Figures show China's pork imports from the U.S. last year accounted for nearly 7 percent of the country's total pork imports and the figure is decreasing.
QI YILONG PRESIDENT, GUANGDONG IMPORTED FOOD ASSOCIATION "We mainly import pork and beef from the United States, and pork makes up a bigger proportion. According to Customs, Guangzhou imported 86-thousand tons of pork and 7-thousand tons of beef from the U.S. last year. American pork used to take a large share in the Chinese market, but the trade war has brought it down."
And Chinese authorities are encouraging farmers to raise more pigs under better disease control standards to stabilize the country's pork prices. LJH, CGTN, GUANGZHOU.
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