China banned pork imports from Germany on Saturday after the country confirmed its first case of African swine fever (ASF). China's ban on imports from its third largest supplier comes as the world's top meat buyer faces a pork shortage of its own caused by a massive decline in hog numbers due to this deadly virus of pigs.
Germany has supplied about 14% of China's pork imports so far this year, Reuters reports. This ban will not only push up demand for meat from other major suppliers like the U.S. and Spain, but it will also boost global prices.
German pork exports to China are worth $1.2 billion annually. A spokeswoman for the German Food and Agriculture Ministry confirmed the ban, adding that the ministry remained in talks with the Chinese government on the matter, Reuters reports.
Farmers are concerned about losing their market for pigs' ears, feet and tails, which were popular items in China.
Japan suspends imports
On Friday, Japan suspended imports of pork and live pigs from Germany, Reuters reports. Japan's action aims to keep out ASF, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.
Japan imported 40,240 metric tons of pork from Germany last year, approximately 3.3% of Japan's total imports of 1.2 million metric tons, Reuters reports.
How will this impact the global market?
U.S. live hog futures climbed on Thursday and Friday on anticipation of these bans. The bans are expected to benefit other major pork suppliers like the U.S., Spain and Brazil.
Unlike other European countries, Spain has not shuttered any pork processing plants due to COVID-19 outbreaks in recent weeks, Reuters reports.
Joe Schuele of the U.S. Meat Export Federation told Reuters that the U.S. is also "well positioned" to ship more pork to China. The U.S. has become the top pork supplier to China this year, who imported 477,694 metric tons of pork in the first seven months of the year.
The U.S. and the European Union both have been encouraging regionalization that would allow trade to continue in areas not affected by a disease outbreak.
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