African Swine Fever in China/Access for U.S. Pork

In August 2018, China reported its first-ever cases of African swine fever (ASF). Through November 2019, 163 ASF outbreaks had been reported in 32 provinces in China, including some at large-scale commercial facilities. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that about 1.2 million pigs have been culled in order to prevent further spread of ASF.

When asked for comment on this situation, USMEF’s primary message it to emphasize that the U.S. industry is an excellent candidate to help fill any additional need for imported pork in China, but would be in a much better position to do so if U.S. pork was not subject to an additional 60% retaliatory duty. This makes the duty rate for U.S. pork 72% – six times the standard rate of 12% that China assesses on frozen pork from other suppliers. (Note: total retaliatory duties increased from 50% to 60% on Sept. 1, 2019, making the total rate 72%)

UPDATE: Despite ongoing trade tensions and China’s retaliatory duties on U.S. pork, pork exports to China/Hong Kong are trending higher. Exports to the region were a record 68,657 mt in July 2019, more than tripling from a year ago, while value climbed 173% to a record $152.5 million. Exports to the region were also strong in August 2019 before moderating to some degree in September. For January through September 2019, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 47% in volume (407,514 mt) and 25% in value ($833.5 million).

UPDATE: Exports (from all suppliers) of meat and poultry to China set a new record in December 2019 and large volumes are expected to continue in 2020. But The number of sows in China has stopped declining and production of hogs on large-scale farms has begun to recover.

If you receive a media request on the ASF situation in China, please contact Joe Schuele at or call him at 303-547-0030 for assistance.

UPDATE: Updates on ongoing U.S.-China trade talks are posted here.

UPDATE: On Jan. 15, 2020, President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed the U.S.-China “Phase One” trade agreement.

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:

For the U.S. pork and beef industries to expand their business in China, the world’s largest and fastest-growing destination for imported red meat, it is critically important that China follows international standards for pork and beef trade. The Phase One trade agreement lays important groundwork toward this goal, and USMEF thanks the Trump administration for addressing the barriers that have hampered U.S. pork and beef exports to China for many years.

Last year China’s red meat imports exceeded $14 billion, a 65% increase from 2018. The U.S. industry looks forward to capturing a greater share of this rapidly growing market.

USMEF summarized key provisions of the agreement here. If you receive a media request on this topic please contact Joe Schuele at or 303-547-0030.