Sharp increase of Australian pork imports
Australian imports of processed pigmeat have risen sharply by 40% in the
last twelve months, originating mainly from Denmark, Canada and the
A report by ITS Global, "Australian Pork and Safeguards: An Industry in
Crisis" stated that imports now account for 64% of the local processed pork
market, and threaten to completely dominate the Australian pork market.
The industry body, Australian Pork, has called on the new Federal Labour
Government to introduce safeguard provisions that restrict trade for 12 months
while the Australian pig industry undergoes structural
In an interview, Khalil
Hegerty of ITS Global said, "These safeguard provisions are legal under World
Trade Organization (WTO). The Productivity Commission constituted by the
outgoing coalition government had the power to recommend the implementation of
safeguards, because WTO rules require that import safeguards have to be part of
a public review.
"It would rest with the new minister responsible for
agriculture to adopt them. If import growth continues at this rate, it threatens
to capture the whole processed market within one and two years."
The Australian pig industry was liberalised in
1994 following the Uruguay round of the WTO, but initially imports were
negligible. Since then however, figures from Australian Pork show domestic
consumption has risen by one third to 486,000 tonnes since 2002, while imports
have risen by 126% and the rate is accelerating, jeopardising the future of the
A$ 2 billion (€1.2 billion) Australian pig industry.
The report found
imports had reduced prices in the Australian pigmeat market to such an extent
that local producers who are also facing record high feedgrain prices, are now
losing A$ 0.55/kg (€0.33/kg), or about A$ 40/pig (€24/kg), and estimated that
the industry is losing about A$ 182 million a
Commenting on the report, Kathleen Plowman of
Australian Pork said, "The industry had literally been deciminated, the sow herd
was down 30,000 to 300,000. Pig farmers had invested heavily in modern
specialised piggeries, which if not used for pigs are virtually
"The industry had already experienced the first wave of
closures, and a recent survey found nearly 30% of pig producers were planning to
leave the business. And once a pig farmer stops production, it is not possible
to put the facilities in mothballs and re-enter the industry when things are
"It is a dismal, heart-breaking story. Either the
government finds some way of supporting Australian pig producers, or the
industry will surely be destroyed and thousands of jobs lost!"
â€¢ Australian Pork
â€¢ World Trade
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