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China bans German pork imports after African swine fever case

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China announced on Saturday a ban on the import of pork and pig products from Germany after the European country confirmed its first case of African swine fever in a wild boar last week.

The move to block imports from China’s third largest supplier of pork comes even as the Asian nation battles an unprecedented shortage of the meat after its own epidemic of the deadly hog disease.

The ban was announced by China’s customs agency and its agriculture ministry.

German pig prices fell by 13.6% to 1.27 euros a kg on Friday after a case of African swine fever (ASF) was found in a wild boar in the country, the association of German animal farmers VEZG said.

Pig prices had been about 1.47 a kg slaughter weight before the ASF case was confirmed on Thursday.

Meanwhile, German pork exports to China and some other non-European Union countries are temporarily not feasible and have stopped after a case of African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed in a wild boar, Germany’s agriculture ministry said on Friday.

Germany’s pork exports to China are worth around 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) annually, but face disruption after the case of ASF in the state of Brandenburg, which is temporarily making essential declarations on export paperwork impossible.

The disease is not dangerous to humans but it is fatal to pigs and a massive outbreak in China, the world’s biggest pork producer, has led to hundreds of millions of pigs being culled.

The disease has caused two years of tight protein supplies in China, leading to more imports of other protein sources and falling consumer confidence in pork and food supply chains.

“Most veterinary certificates agreed for the export of pork from Germany include the statement that Germany is free from African swine fever,” a ministry spokesman said.

“This statement since yesterday can no longer be made on the certificates.”

German pork exports to EU countries are still continuing because of a regionalisation clause, where import curbs target the local region where the ASF case is discovered.

“The German government is currently holding talks with the relevant countries with the goal of revising the certificates with a regionalisation clause,” the ministry spokesman said.

Major pork importers such as China often impose bans on imports from countries where ASF has been found, even if only in wild animals. South Korea, Germany’s second largest pigmeat customer outside the EU, has announced a ban on German pork imports.

“We are undertaking intensive talks with China and other non-EU countries to achieve a regionalisation clause,” the ministry spokesman said.

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