Obama urged to protect overseas U.S. pork markets
The House Agriculture Committee urged the Obama administration this week to “combat unfounded concerns that are impeding pork trade in domestic and export markets” due to the recent outbreak of the H1N1 influenza.
The committee said several U.S. trading partners have already notified the U.S. government of new import restrictions on U.S. pork, and, at least one country has extended their ban to meat from other livestock. Earlier this week, China announced a ban on pork imports from California, Kansas and Texas, in addition to Mexico and the Canadian province of Alberta.
“Actions by our trading partners to use the outbreak of this influenza strain as an excuse to shut down borders to U.S. pork are either based on misinformation or purposefully instituted to create an unfair barrier to trade,” the committee said in a May 4 letter to the White House.
The committee noted that in 2008 pork exports accounted for 20 percent of total U.S. pork production, and estimated that exports last year amounted to about $48 per hog harvested. “Access to foreign markets has become increasingly important to the economic health of the U.S. pork industry,” the committee said.