Since African swine fever was first reported in China in August, officials have confirmed about 100 outbreaks of the disease. Although ASF does not pose a threat to human health, could transportation restrictions on hogs and pork products and heavy news coverage of the disease cause a slowdown in China’s pork consumption?
Ming Liang, U.S. Meat Export Federation marketing director in China, says he has observed some decline in consumer demand for pork, mainly in China’s largest cities where a broader range of protein options are available. But Liang adds that this is likely temporary, given that pork is such a longstanding and important staple of the Chinese diet.
Liang offers insight of how pork consumption, which hovers around 30-35 kilograms per person in China, will be impacted by ASF. “We love our pork,” he says.
Should ASF lead to an increase in China’s need for imported pork, an important opportunity could emerge for the U.S. industry. Liang notes that China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork have pushed the import duty rate to 62%, compared to 12% for other foreign suppliers. The USMEF continues to work closely with core customers in China who still utilize U.S. pork, despite this increase in costs.