Chairman Lincoln’s Statement on China’s Agreement to Re-Open Market to United States Pork

Washington–The Honorable Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today issued the following statement on China’s agreement to re-open the Chinese market to United States pork and live swine, consistent with science-based international standards. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the agreement at the conclusion of meetings with Chinese officials at the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.

“I am very pleased that the Chinese government will move to reopen its markets to United States pork, acknowledging that there was no scientific basis to bar our pork exports due to the emergence of H1N1 flu.  I look forward to the full resumption of trade in pork products with China quickly.  This is good news for an industry hit hard by a downturn in the economy and that greatly benefits from trade. Regaining access to a $500 million market in China will help alleviate the financial burden on pork producers in Arkansas and across the country who have been selling their livestock at a loss for almost two years.  There remain a handful of markets that are closed to U.S. pork, but I hope that others will follow China’s example and restore access promptly.

“I would like to express my appreciation for the hard work and persistence of Secretary Vilsack and Ambassador Kirk on this issue.  Secretary Vilsack followed through on his assurances to me in a meeting last week that he would not take no for an answer from China.  Ambassador Kirk also knows how important trade is for agriculture and we discussed the pressing need to resolve this issue with China as soon as possible.  Clearly, the leadership and staff at both USDA and USTR deserve praise for their hard work and success on an issue of critical importance to our farmers, ranchers and consumers.”