China will soon lift the export ban on pork and pork products from Belgium. This comes 5 years after the country put an import ban on Belgian pork due to outbreaks of African Swine Fever in wild boar in that country.
Belgium hopes to sell mainly pig heads and legs to the Chinese as there is no market for those products in Europe, the farmers union Boerenbond said. Boerenbond represents the agricultural industry in Flanders and the East of Belgium. The vast majority of Belgium’s pig producers are located in Flanders.
The decision follows a successful trade mission lead by Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo. Boerenbond chairman Lode Ceyssens joined that mission for 2 days and participated in discussions with the Chinese authorities. He said, “After conversations lasting for several months, Belgium and China signed a memorandum of understanding on the control of ASF followed by the withdrawal of the trade embargo for pork.”
Over the last few years, Belgium’s authorities as well as the Boerenbond have made a lot of efforts to reach this successful outcome, such as meetings with the Chinese embassy and visits to relevant companies. Ceyssens added, “China now shows it has full confidence in our approach of ASF. This is a big boost for our farmers, all their work has been worth it.”
David Clarinval, Belgium’s minister of agriculture, agreed. He commented, “This is a big victory for our farmers. Resuming the export of Belgian pork to China was one of my priorities. I have been in touch personally with the Chinese authorities and the ambassador of China in our country. We have officially been free from ASF since October 2020, so this is a logical following step. That we can once again export pork to China will also have a positive effect on the Belgian economy.”
Clarinval’s colleague for foreign affairs, minister Hadja Lahbib, added: “Our Belgian farmers are known the world over for the excellent quality of their pork.”