The U.S. ranked as Hong Kong’s third largest supplier of pork products by both value and volume in 2016 and 2017, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) report. From January to June 2017, U.S. pork exports to Hong Kong totaled $84 million, a rise of 29% compared to the same period last year, while volume increased by 12% reaching 35,775 metric tons (MT).
The demand for U.S. pork in the local retail market remains stable, though it showed an uptick earlier this year when products from Brazil were banned (Brazilian pork exports to Hong Kong dropped 31% in the first half of 2017 in response to food safety concerns). A trader indicated to FAS that business for U.S. pork grew about 20% in March and April 2017. The food service sector tends toward lower-cost Brazil and China-origin products although high-end restaurants consistently demand U.S. pork.
Export of offals from the U.S. remains strong as the U.S. is Hong Kong’s largest supplier of swine offals. It works out well for both parties since this product isn’t widely consumed in the U.S. Export volume to Hong Kong reached 62,866 MT, valued at $136 million from January to June 2017, far exceeding the export value in pork products which stood at $84 million.
Concern About Antibiotic Resistance
In view of the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the Hong Kong government developed a Strategy and Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, to be employed from 2017 to 2022. The five-year plan comprises a list of measures to contain the growth of AMR, including the monitoring of antimicrobial use in humans and animals.
In the context of food animals, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) will develop a monitoring plan to establish a list of AMR microorganisms to be monitored in farms. Moreover, the HKG is planning to stop issuing Antibiotics Permits to farmers and will initiate legislative amendments to repeal the exemption of antimicrobials in animal feeds, so that the use of antimicrobials in food animals will be subject to veterinary prescription.
This measure will be ready for implementation when Hong Kong’s non-government veterinary sector has developed to a stage that could support the mandatory prescription for the use of antibiotics in food animals. Currently, AFCD issues written permits to local swine and poultry farmers to enable them to purchase and possess antimicrobials for the treatment of diseases of their farm animals.