French Minister: China Set to Approve More French Pork, Speed up Beef Access

China, the world’s top consumer of pork, is set to approve more imports of French pork, processed meat and infant formula, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in Beijing on Friday, after Beijing agreed to publish the results of plant inspections carried out two years earlier.

China requires every plant that exports meat products to the country to first pass inspections by its quarantine officials. Inspections had been carried out in France in 2015 but not yet published, preventing the French firms from exporting their product to China.

Chinese officials have now said they will publish the audits before the end of this year. It was not clear why the audit reports had been delayed.

“In the sectors of infant formula, pork, and charcuterie products, the publication of audit results that we were waiting for will allow us to export more easily these products as well as beef,” Le Maire said at a press briefing as part of the China-France High-Level Economic and Financial Dialogue.

China is the world’s top importer of pork, and imports surged last year to around 1.6 million tonnes.

China’s demand for processed pork is growing rapidly but until now Beijing has approved only a handful of exporters of processed meat products including dried and cured ham and other charcuterie or cold cuts.

Talks this week are also set to speed up France’s access to the booming Chinese beef market, according to French officials. China had already said earlier this year it planned to lift its ban on French beef but full access has not yet been granted.