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News 867 views last update:Sep 16, 2008

Germany to embrace China's pig delicacies

Germany, home of Europe's largest pork industry, is turning its attention to China, not only a vast market but one with a taste for pigs' ears, feet and other delicacies that are shunned at home.

After two years of negotiations, Berlin sealed a deal last week in Beijing opening the door to China for German pork. "It is extremely positive," said Michael Stab, in charge of the meat sector for the German Farmers Association. "There is demand for products that are not worth much here such as trotters and ears and we are going to try to get quite a good price for them."

In the coming months, five to 10 applicant companies are set to win approval and begin deliveries in 2009, according to the federation. But Stab said the Chinese market needn't fear a glut of German meat. "The volumes will not be enormous," said Stab of the Farmers' Association. "The primary market (for German meat) will remain Germany, then the European Union and then the rest of the world."

Kohlmueller said major exporters would have an advantage, however, in the giant new market. "Offices on the ground will be needed to deal with the administrative formalities, insurance and other things that small farmers cannot afford," he said. He said the Chinese market could soon pave the way to the rest of Asia, with German pigs found on South Korean barbecue spits or in Japanese noodle soups as early as next year.

Currently the United States, Denmark, France and Canada are the biggest meat suppliers to China.

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