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Telegram: Chinese meat suspension will reverberate through supply chain

June 28, 2019 — 

As the Telegram reports:

China’s suspension of Canadian meat imports will ripple through domestic supply chains, locking exporters out of the world’s largest pork market during a time of unusually high demand.

A combination of escalating trade restrictions and an outbreak of African swine fever has reduced pork supplies in China, the world’s largest consumer and producer of the meat. Canadian producers have moved to fill the supply gap, posting a 52 per cent increase in pork exports to China in the first four months of this year.

Derek Brewin

“China is an absolutely huge consumer of pork, and African swine fever has eliminated a lot of its herd,” said Derek Brewin, head of the University of Manitoba’s department of agribusiness and agricultural economics. “So the demand there is very big now and for us to get shut out while everyone else is making a killing is just bad for our industry.”

…If they are playing politics in this case I’m surprised that they’re doing it at a time of such dire need for pork.

An outbreak of African Swine Fever that began in China last August has since spread through Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other Asian nations, wiping out large portions of the countries’ herds. A report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization last week said that more than 3.7 million pigs in the region had been culled since the outbreak began — more than 1.1 million in China alone.

Beijing has also placed hefty tariffs on U.S. pork imports as part of its tit-for-tat trade war with Washington, squeezing another source of supply.

“If they are playing politics in this case I’m surprised that they’re doing it at a time of such dire need for pork,” said Brewin.

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