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German Farmers Urge China To Impose Limited Import Curbs After Swine Fever Find

By Donna Ahern
German Farmers Urge China To Impose Limited Import Curbs After Swine Fever Find

The head of Germany’s farming association DBV on Friday called on China to impose only limited import restrictions and not a national import ban on German pork after a case of African swine fever (ASF) was found in a wild boar in Germany.

South Korea, Germany's second largest pigmeat customer outside the European Union, imposed an import ban on German pork after ASF was discovered in a dead wild boar, not a farm animal, on Thursday.

Major Exports

Europe's biggest pork producer has major exports to other Asian countries, especially China which imported $1.2 billion worth of German pigmeat last year.

DBV president Joachim Rukwied said pig farmers are concerned "that swine fever will mean the Asian market falls apart."

"I hope that the Chinese market remains open," Rukwied said on German television channel ARD. "I hope that they will take a similar course of action as in the European Union with a regionalised answer, in which only meat from the affected region cannot be exported elsewhere in the EU."

Germany's domestic pork market is not enough for the country’s large pig farming sector, he said.

"We are greatly concerned, we fear market pressure."

Asia is important for sale of parts of pigs such as ears and tails which find no markets in Europe, he said.

Regional Import Bans

Germany’s government is also pressing for regional import bans from individual areas hit by ASF and not blanket national bans.

ASF is not dangerous to humans but fatal to pigs. Some countries impose import bans from regions where it has been discovered, even in non-farm wild boars.

The disease, which has hit the world's top pork producer China hard, originated in Africa before spreading to Europe and Asia. It has killed hundreds of million pigs, while reshaping global meat and feed markets.

Germany had feared a spread of the disease after cases were confirmed in wild boars in west Poland in past weeks.

News by Reuters edited by Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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