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Importer denies control of pig supplies

by 5m Editor
11 July 2007, at 10:13am

HONG KONG - The city's main importer of live pigs has denied controlling the supply of fresh pork to the market to make a profit.

The importer, Ng Fung Hong, told legislators Tuesday that while the price of pork jumped 30 percent in the mainland, the company had maintained prices - with only a 7 percent rise on May 31.

"The stability of the supply and the price in Hong Kong is relative to the mainland's supply and the market price," Ng Fung Hong's managing director Guo Jinqing told the Legislative Council's food and environmental affairs panel Tuesday. Guo said the import quota, set by mainland authorities, is sufficient to meet Hong Kong's needs. He also said the shortage of supply in the mainland was due to an outbreak of a pig disease in some areas.

Guo sidestepped claims the supply of pigs had been reduced because his company was offering too low a price.

Cheuk Wing-hing, the acting permanent secretary for food and health, said the government had asked the mainland's Ministry of Commerce to increase the supply.

At present, Ng Fung Hong controls about 80 percent of pork imports while another company, Guangnan, controls 20 percent. They are the only agents appointed by the Ministry of Commerce to supply live pigs to Hong Kong.

Cheuk said the government has talked with the mainland authorities about designating a pig farming area in the mainland for Hong Kong pig farmers to set up shop.

Since the introduction of a voluntary surrender of pig farm licenses last May, the government has also talked with the mainland about increasing the import quota to almost 1.6 million pigs per year to compensate for the reduction in the local supply.

Source: The Standard

5m Editor