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U.S. meat exporters troubled by China trade flap

by 5m Editor
16 July 2007, at 8:20am

WASHINGTON - China's decision to block some U.S. pork and poultry imports is a blow to exporters who rely on the Asian market for sales of products shunned by consumers at home, an industry group said on Sunday.

News this weekend that China's quarantine bureau had suspended pork and poultry from some U.S. plants -- following the discovery of salmonella-contaminated chicken and other products with growth agents or other additives -- struck another sour note in the two countries' trade ties.

Even as Americans grow more worried about the safety of the goods they buy from China, the Asian nation is seeking to extinguish fears about products from pet food to toothpaste, and to improve its image among the world's consumers.

Companies affected by the latest flap include some of the giants of American agriculture, including a unit of the private Cargill Inc., and Tyson Foods, the leading U.S. producer of fresh beef and No. 2 producer of chicken and pork.

Thad Lively, a trade analyst at the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Denver, said China is a crucial market for animal products not typically consumed in the United States like "variety meats," which usually includes things like chicken feet and pig ears.

"Losing access to this market would be very damaging to the overall profitability of the U.S. pork industry," Lively said.

He chalked the recent problems up to "excessively restrictive" import rules that are not based on science.

Source: Reuters

Further Reading

China blocks some U.S. meat imports

5m Editor