China bans Polish pork imports after ASF outbreak

China has become the latest country to suspend Polish pork imports after reports of African swine fever in wild boars.

Russia banned pork imports from the whole EU on 28 January following the discovery of African swine fever in Lithuanian wild boars and two subsequent cases found in Poland.

Russia’s ongoing ban has led to extra pork staying in Europe, causing prices to dip slightly.

The EU reference price fell 3.17p/kg from 27 January to 17 February.

About one-quarter of EU pork exports go to Russia and are worth about €1.4bn a year.

AHDB/BPEX market specialist manager Stephen Howarth said the European price drop seemed likely to continue, but the Chinese ban could be good for some pork-producing EU countries.

“China has individual [trade] agreements with member states,” he said. “Potentially, if they are stopping taking Polish, that provides an opportunity for other exports from the rest of the EU. Potentially that includes us.

“I would not expect it to have a significant effect on the prices in the EU, apart from a further drop in the Polish price.”

See also: Review pig biosecurity as African swine fever hits Poland

Poland sold 52,000t of pork to China in 2013 – about 12% of its exports – but the European Union remains its biggest customer, importing 218,000t in 2013.

Mr Howarth said the success of negotiations between the EU and Russia would determine the long-term effect of the Europe-wide ban.

“It sounds as if some progress is being made with some of the more western parts of Europe,” he said.

“If they can get back into Russia that balances out the EU market, so the countries not in Russia at the moment can supply to other parts of the EU.

“In the UK, our price is easing down, but it is only the normal, seasonal trend.”