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Lifting of Funding Ban Could Help US Pork Producers

by 5m Editor
28 September 2009, at 10:39am

US - The National Pork Producers Council commended conferees on the agriculture appropriations bill, on text slated for the FY 2010 agriculture appropriations conference report regarding the use of appropriated funds by USDA with respect to potential imports of poultry products from China.

The conference agreement would allow USDA to use appropriated funds in FY 2010 to promulgate or implement a rule allowing imports of processed poultry or poultry products from China only after the Secretary of Agriculture notifies Congress that certain conditions have been met.

"We applaud the conferees for finding a path forward that will permit USDA to conduct a science-based risk assessment of Chinese processed poultry. It sends a strong signal to China that the US abides by its trade obligations and will base decisions about imports on sound science," said NPPC President Don Butler. "We expect China to do the same."

As the world’s biggest exporter of pork, the US pork industry has a compelling interest in making sure that foreign governments base their trade decisions on science. Last year, the industry exported nearly $5 billion of pork, including almost $690 million to China, the second largest destination.

In its efforts to move the process forward, NPPC was part of a coalition of agriculture and business organizations that urged the Congress to look closely at the issue. In August, NPPC issued a grassroots call to action, asking pork producers around the country to contact their members of Congress and urge them to find a science-based solution to the issue. And, at a critical point in the appropriations negotiations in mid-September, more than 130 pork producers came to Washington to meet with their congressional delegations on the issue.

"China is a very important market for the US pork industry," Mr Butler said. "Given the current economic state of our industry, with producers losing more than $21 per hog over the past two years, US pork exports to China are NPPC’s No. 1 trade priority."