February 3, 2020
How is the new coronavirus outbreak affecting China's meat and food business? Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, says it's still unclear but for now ports are functioning and imported goods are continuing to enter China.
"Rumors of Chinese port closures are just that though, rumors. Clearance of goods may have been slowed because of the holidays, but so far, we're not aware of any port closures due to disease risk. Even during the bleakest days of SARS here in Hong Kong, that port was still loading and unloading vessels 24/7," Haggard says.
Haggard says what really remains unclear at this point is how the overall food supply chain is functioning.
"There's no question there've been runs at supermarkets in most tier 1 cities. They head out to the supermarkets, stock up and then head back home for a lockdown," Haggard says. "This is translating into a very quick weakening of food service sales, but again, it's hard to quantify because many restaurants shut anyway for the Lunar New Year holiday. But the new travel advisories and the decline in inbound travelers is going to hurt food service and hotel business."
Haggard says the other situation USMEF is watching is that of food transport logistics.
"The ministries of agriculture, transport and public security issued, what I think is a pretty important joint notice, to ensure that staples such as meat and vegetables should be normally circulated, and so this is a plea for players in the marketplace, not to hoard, not to price gouge and to make sure all efforts are being made to supply products into the market," Haggard says. "We assume the government will need to work hard in order to ensure transportation networks are functioning normally across the country."
Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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