Trade war with U.S. won't affect China's pork supply: Chinese ministry

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said its trade dispute with the United States would not affect the Asian nation’s pork supply, state-television reported on Friday, citing an official at the agriculture ministry.

FILE PHOTO: Pork for sale is seen at a market in Beijing, China December 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The comment comes before an additional 10% tariff imposed by China on U.S. farm imports kicks in on Sept. 1.

Pork prices in China have soared to a record level after African swine fever (ASF) swept through the country’s pig herd.

“The amount of American pork imports accounts for less than 0.2% of Chinese output, and the trade dispute with the United States has no impact on pork supply and pork prices in China,” said Xin Guochang at the husbandry and veterinarian bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs told CCTV.

China, THE world’s biggest pork consumer and hog producer, produced 54.04 million tonnes of pork in 2018.

INTL FCStone, a broker and consultancy, estimated the figure would fall to 38 million tonnes in 2019 and 34 million tonnes in 2020 as China continued to struggle to control ASF.

Beijing said on Thursday it would seek to boost pork imports and release frozen pork, beef and mutton from state reserves in “due course” to increase the supply of meat in the market.

Pork imports in the first seven months rose 36% from the same period a year earlier to 1 million tonnes.

“We should ensure pork supply by all means ... and strictly rein in market speculation, actively boost production of alternative meat products and increase frozen pork reserves,” Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua told a teleconference on Friday, according to state-owned Xinhua News Agency.

China’s pig herd shrank by 32.2% in July from the same month a year ago, according to official data.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Edmund Blair