Despite government efforts to control the disease, African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to spread across China (and even out of China). Ming Liang, China’s marketing director for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, stated, “Over 100 cases in 24 provinces have been reported, and it shows no signs of stopping. It is really devastating for the Chinese hog industry.”
While the disease poses no threat to human health, the extensive media coverage in China is causing consumers to shy away from eating pork. Liang said, “All the media attention has caused consumers in the larger cities to shy away from eating pork.” He believes this downturn is likely to be short-lived since pork is a staple in the Chinese diet, “We consumer about 35 kilos of pork per person annually.”
The key to increasing U.S. pork sales to China is to lower the tariffs imposed by China. Currently China places a 50% tariff on U.S. pork imports, making U.S. pork much more expensive than pork from other nations. Liang said, despite this, there are some in China who really want U.S. pork, “We are working with some importers that just really want U.S. pork and are willing to pay the higher price.” Should the U.S. and Chinese trade relations improve, pork producers could benefit from a significant increase exports to China.
A report on swinehealth.org says the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture released a communication confirming that the African Swine Fever Virus has been found in two northern provinces. The area is located about 100 miles from the Chinese border.
Outbreaks appeared on three farms, and all of the infected animals have been culled from their herds. Animal Health Department officials are testing the herds at neighboring farms. Local authorities in the region have put control measures in place to help limit any potential spread of the disease. Moving animals in the infected areas is restricted and quarantines are in place. The Vietnamese Chief of Epidemiology says animal smuggling and tourism are making it difficult to protect Vietnam against ASF spreading further into the country.