|Marcel Woo |||Apr 08, 2014 08:42 AM EDT|
A deadly virus that has killed over four million pigs has prompted China to suspend its importation of live hogs from the United States, the Livestock Exporters Association of the USA announced.
Association president Tony Clayton was quoted by news agency Reuters as saying that China has not issued import permits for live hogs pending the agreement on a standard on testing animals for the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv).
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The said virus has been found to be deadly especially in suckling pigs. Since its discovery in May of last year, the virus has killed an estimated four to five million pigs in the US. The import restriction is a proactive measure to prevent the fatal virus from spreading to China's pig farms.
US experts said the China's import ban can be an advantage for the United States because it will help ease the tight supply of pork in the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture in China has not issued a statement regarding the report as of yet but analysts said the suspension of the importation of live hogs from the US does not come as a surprise since the Chinese government has long been strict on food safety issues.
The temporary restriction is expected to affect the American livestock export industry considering that China is the world's largest pork consumer. Last year, the country bought a total of US$20 million worth of breeding hogs in the US.
Last week, Japan has also notified US authorities that it has ordered import restriction on live hogs while Mexico limited its importation last year. China, Japan and Mexico are among the top buyers of pork from the United States.
Pork price in China has been falling since last year due to oversupply triggered by importation.
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