ASF: Asian markets ban German pork imports

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/leonovo
© GettyImages/leonovo

Related tags ASF China Germany Japan

Japan has joined China, South Korea and Singapore in terms of the Asian markets that have imposed a ban on German pork imports after the EU country confirmed its first case of African swine fever last week.

On September 10, Germany’s Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) confirmed an African swine fever (ASF) case in a wild boar found in Eastern Germany near the German-Polish border.

Beyond those Asian countries implementing restrictions on German pork exports, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa have now reacted in a similar fashion, imposing bans as well, a spokesperson for BMEL told FeedNavigator today. 

"Let me make one thing clear: it will be possible to largely maintain trade within the European Union. The ASF regionalisation measures have been accepted across the EU."​ This means, in concrete terms, that trade will only be hindered for holdings situated in the designated restriction zone, said the BMEL representative. 

"Some 70% of exports currently remain in the internal European market,"​ she added.

German farmer’s association, DBV, has urged the German government to press home the importance of regional bans. 

"Together with and through the European Commission and other EU member states, our ministry has, for some time now, also been conducting intensive talks with third countries to adopt agreements on regionalisation measures," ​reported the BMEL spokesperson in relation to those demands.

On-site ASF control measures are being conducted by the German authorities to avoid the spread of ASF into domestic pigs, noted a USDA report.

“A fence is now being erected around a 4km radius of the site where the infected wild boar was found. Samples taken from bones of the decomposing carcass of the wild boar suggest that ASF entered Germany several weeks ago, indicating that additional ASF detections are likely.

“Search parties are looking for more dead boar carcasses in the area. ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral (wild) pigs in all age groups,”​ reported the US agency.

Chinese sales 

ASF was not entirely unexpected, given the recent rise of cases in Western Poland, according to the USDA.

“However, the confirmed ASF case will be devastating for the German pork sector which is still reeling from the Covid-19 crisis, including slaughter facility disruptions stemming from outbreaks among its workers, excess supply, declining consumption, trade disruptions, and depressed prices.”

Germany, found that USDA report​, became one of the top pork exporters to China in 2019, with sales reaching US$867m.

Ahead of the ban being officially imposed by China, the USDA publication forecast that while German pork would still be eligible for sale in the EU market, other major global pork producers would need to fill the gap if Germany lost access to the Chinese market. "The US, Brazil, Spain, Denmark, and the Netherlands may experience a boost in trade.”

This article was updated on September 15 to include the remarks from the BMEL spokesperson.

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