Despite China's new dietary guidelines, export prospects remain strong

China's Ministry of Health recently issued new dietary guidelines calling for Chinese citizens to significantly reduce their meat consumption. Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, says he does not expect the new guidelines to have much impact on consumer behavior, but added that Chinese consumers - especially in major urban areas - are becoming more health conscious when purchasing food items.

Haggard explains that other factors - such as rising prices and constraints on domestic livestock production - could slow meat consumption growth in China, but he still expects U.S. exporters to have excellent business opportunities in the market. While China remains closed to U.S. beef due to the BSE-related suspension imposed in 2003, pork exports to China have achieved strong growth in 2016. Through April, pork exports to China totaled more than $220 million - nearly double the value total from the same period last year.