The US National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) applauded an agreement reached between the United States and Russia that will re-open the Russian market to US pork. By the end of last year, Russia had delisted virtually all US pork facilities, prohibiting them from shipping pork to the country.
“We are very pleased that Russia is re-opening its market to US pork; it's a very important destination for our products,” said NPPC president Don Butler. “NPPC also is very appreciative of the efforts of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Trade Representative in getting this deal done.”
In 2008, the United States shipped $476 million of pork to Russia, making that country the number five market. Last year they fell to $289 million because of a several-months ban on US pork over concerns about the influenza A (H1N1), the global economic downturn and Russia delisting a number of US pork facilities. Exports to Russia, which were just $7.6 million in 2003, have soared since the United States and Russia signed a meat agreement in 2004.
New veterinary certificate
The United States agreed to develop a new veterinary certificate to ensure that US pork exports meet specific Russian microbiological and tetracycline-group antibiotic residue requirements. US plants that want to export to Russia must apply for approval with the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. AMS, in collaboration with USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, has developed an Export Verification (EV) program for pork going to Russia to address specific product requirements.
“Our pork meets US and international standards, so we did not see the need for the EV programme,” said Butler. “But the Russians wanted the programme, and we wanted to get back in the market.
“And while the re-opening of the Russian market is great news for our producers, we now need to get China to re-open its market to US pork.”
China & Canada
China closed its market to US pork in late April after the initial reports on the H1N1 flu outbreak. In December, China announced it would re-open its market but has yet to begin taking US pork. It recently reached agreement with Canada to take that country's pork.
“We're losing pork sales to Canada and the European Union,” said Butler. “We need to get back into the Chinese market.”
Related news item:
• US, Russia agree on reopening pork market
• US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
• National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)