USDA Deputy Undersecretary Michael Scuse is hosting one of the largest ag trade missions ever to Southeast Asia this week with a contingent of 40 agribusiness leaders, including four state ag commissioners, and other state officials and professionals including NCDA Assistant Director of International Marketing Peter Thornton.
Several ag issues are being discussed this week, including the WTO dispute on poultry, restrictions on lumber exported from South Carolina and Virginia, and the use of ractapomine in pork.
NCDA’s Thornton arranged for Southern Farm Network to have a conversation with Chief Ag Negotiator with the USTR Ambassador Islam Siddiqui from Shanghai on pork exports from the US to Southeast Asian countries:
“It is in Taiwan, and the prohibition in China, China has had the ban on ractapomine, and I think that the decision of our pork industry was that they have dedicated certain plants that they are using hogs that aren’t feed ractapomine. So, I think we have been able to cash in on the pork market, last year we were able to export $713 million worth of pork and pork products to China. This is a huge number, and if you’ve been following up, last year was the biggest number of pork exports to the world and that number was $6 billion in 2011, so I thin our pork industry continues to benefit from our trade opening initiatives around the world.
SFN: So, that is kind of the ractapomine solution, is to have facilities committed to ractapomine-free, rather than the Chinese accepting sound science and lifting their ban.
Siddiqui: Rhonda, I think we’ll say that we have a two-part strategy; one is to continue to insist on the CODEX, which is the body that has oversight on food and safety standards, they will continue to work with other allies, those o26 countries which have restricted ractapomine for legal use. so, we would like to see this issue resolved based on sound science, and so we continue to work there, work with the allies, but in the absence of it, the choice is very simple, would you rather not be in the Chinese market like this number I gave you, $713 million, or would you comply with the wishes of the buyer, and the buyer is telling you that t hey want to only buy ractapomine-free. So, we will continue to push for getting ractapomine approved globally, but, until such time when other countries like the Europeans, and Chinese and the Taiwanese, continue to put these barriers that are not based on sound science, one interim solution, in my opinion, is to keep the trade moving.
Tomorrow, we’ll hear more from Ambassador Siddiqui on poultry exports on Today’s Topic.