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Promising prospects for more U.S. pork in the Philippines

There should be opportunity for more pork cuts such as picnics and hams as China's African swine fever shortage starts to pull prices of U.S. competitor products up.

First-half pork exports to the Philippines trended lower year-over-year, but Dan Haggard says after meeting with importers, processors and other prospective buyers at World Food Expo, the Philippines' largest food exhibition, he anticipates an uptick in activity in the second half of 2019.

The senior vice president for the Asia Pacific for the U.S. Meat Export Federation just returned from the Philippines and says the country is a promising market for U.S. red meat.

“Our team at the U.S. Meat Export Federation participate in the annual WOFEX food exhibition in Manila and these annual food exhibitions give us and our members a great opportunity to connect with the principal buyers and especially processors in the Philippines to get a pulse on the marketplace,” Haggard says. “They were generally buoyant about trade and market access prospects and in part due to the appointment by President Duterte of what they see as a more pro-trade Secretary of Agriculture.”

Haggard says while the U.S. is already supplying large volumes of pork items to the Philippines like ear basin and tongue root trim, there should be opportunities for more pork cuts such as picnics and hams moving forward as China's African swine fever shortage starts to pull prices of U.S. competitor products up.

“Interestingly, the Philippines has halted all imports of pork from its largest supplier, Germany over an alleged commingling of noncompliant product from Poland,” Haggard says. “We believe this will open up more opportunities for the U.S.”

The Philippines suspension of pork imports from Germany is part of the effort to keep ASF out of the country. This week the Philippine Department of Agriculture is reportedly investigating recent swine deaths and testing these animals for ASF, but officials emphasized that no ASF cases have been confirmed in the Philippines.

“The Philippines is extremely concerned about the spread of African swine fever across Southeast Asia,” Haggard says. “Although the country is not connected to the peninsula of Southeast Asia, there's a great deal of marine traffic and commerce between all those nations surrounding the South China Sea, including Vietnam, which has been hit hard by ASF.”

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