USMEF Audio: ASF in Germany a Shakeup for Global Pork Trade

( Valentin Panzirsch )

African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed in Germany Sept. 9, when a dead wild boar near the Germany-Poland border tested positive. Additional ASF cases have since been confirmed in Germany – all in wild boars in the eastern state of Brandenburg, according to a report from the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

As USMEF economist Erin Borror explains in the audio clip below, global pork production remains at the same level but ASF in Germany will reshuffle pork trade patterns. All markets outside the European Union are now effectively closed to German pork, including major Asian destinations. German pork shipped to non-EU markets had accounted for about 9% of global pork exports in 2020, with much of this total – nearly 50,000 metric tons per month – going to China. Germany's absence could increase the already-large volumes of U.S. pork being shipped to China, though Borror cautions that the U.S. industry will face intense competition from other suppliers.

Germany is also a major pork supplier for South Korea, but a large percentage of these exports are single-ribbed bellies. This is not a space the U.S. is likely to fill, due to very strong domestic demand for bellies and the labor required to meet Korean buyers' specifications, Borror says. The same applies to Japan's imports of single-ribbed bellies, which are more likely to be replaced by other European suppliers. Borror also notes that bolstered by the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, the U.S. industry has already recaptured much of the ground seasoned pork business Germany had established in Japan.