China, France sign deals on pork imports, bird flu bans

The move could boost French pork exports by 10%
calendar icon 8 May 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

China will allow imports of pig origin protein feed and pork offal from France effective immediately, according to statements from Chinese customs and the French farm ministry in a move that could boost French pork exports to China by 10%, Reuters reported

The announcements follow a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, on Xi's first visit to Europe in five years.

China will allow imports of pig origin protein feed that met relevant requirements, the customs office said in a statement.

Pork offal will also be included in the list of pork products that France will be able to export to China, according to the French farm ministry.

French pork producers said the offal deal would boost French pork exports to China by 10%. These amounted to 260 million euros ($279.68 million) in 2023, with China being France's largest pork export market.

"Two market access agreements, signed with the Chinese customs administration, make it possible to open the Chinese market to new French products: pork offal, thanks to an amendment to the protocol for the export of pork meat, as well as processed proteins pork," the French farm ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Last year, China's agriculture ministry issued a three-year action plan to reduce soymeal use in animal feed in a move to reduce its heavy reliance on soybean imports. It also approved the import of French dairy products for animal feed use last year.

Pork products exported to China, including stomachs and intestines, are under-consumed in Europe but very popular in China.

China also agreed to limit embargoes on French poultry to regions where bird flu outbreaks have been detected, instead of imposing nationwide bans like it has done in the past, the French agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, has led to the culling of hundreds of million birds around the world in recent years with France among the most severely affected countries in the European Union.

China had banned French poultry imports between 2015 and 2019 because of bird flu and reinstated an embargo in 2021 after a new outbreak was detected.

France is the second country to obtain a regionalisation for embargoes in case of bird flu outbreaks after the United States in 2020.

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