Home Society China lifts ban on Belgian pork
China lifts ban on Belgian pork

China lifts ban on Belgian pork

by host
China lifts ban on Belgian pork

BEIJING — China has lifted its ban on imports of Belgian pig products, five years after an outbreak of African swine flu slashed the sector’s access to the crucial Asian market.

The news was announced on Friday morning by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and General Administration of Customs, which said in a joint statement that Belgian pig and pork exports must comply with statutory inspection and quarantine requirements.

It came hours before Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who is on a state visit to China, was due to meet with President Xi Jinping. De Croo is also wearing a second hat on his mission to China, as Belgium recently took over the presidency of the Council of the EU, the intergovernmental part of the 27-nation bloc.

“This is very good news for our Belgian pig farmers,” Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib told reporters in Beijing. “They are known far beyond our borders for their high-quality pork. Together with [Agriculture] Minister David Clarinval, I have worked hard in recent years to lift the Chinese embargo. With results.”

Belgium is the EU’s 8th largest pig producer and its 5th largest exporter, making up around 4 percent of the bloc’s pork production. After the September 2018 epidemic, 29 countries placed embargoes on Belgian pork. Almost all of them have since lifted the bans, with China being one of the last holdouts.

The regularization will be a godsend to Belgian producers, who have desperately lobbied to regain their access to the world’s largest pork market, as well as a small win for EU leaders, who have been calling on Beijing to ease trade barriers amid a ballooning trade deficit.

“This success not only benefits our pig farmers, but also means more exports and a better trade balance with China,” said Lahbib.

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