EU pork industry faces ‘nightmare’ if China restricts imports

HAMBURG/LLEIDA, June 14 (Reuters) – Europe’s pork industry faces a “nightmare scenario” of lower prices and falling profitability if China restricts imports from the region, industry executives and analysts said on Friday.

Chinese firms have asked for an anti-dumping probe into pork imports from the European Union, state-backed Chinese media reported on Friday, escalating tensions after the bloc imposed anti-subsidy duties on Chinese-made electric vehicles.

China imported $6 billion worth of pork, including offal, in 2023 and more than half came from the EU, Chinese customs data showed. Ending those orders would result in a huge loss of business for Europe’s meat industry.

“The full suspension of EU pork exports to China would be a potential nightmare scenario for the pork supply chain, with implications across the EU,” said Justin Sherrard, global strategist animal protein at Rabobank.

Sherrard added that the disruption would be felt across pork supply chains in Europe, resulting in lower prices and profit margins on unwanted stock produced by the region’s farmers.

China buys pig meat including ears, noses and feet, for which there is little demand from European customers. The ability to export those parts of the animal helps generate a higher value for the whole carcass, analysts say.

“It would take time, but may be possible for EU exporters to find alternative markets for the pork muscle meat cuts that are currently shipped to China,” Sherrard said. “However, I doubt alternative markets could be found for EU pork ‘variety meat’ exports that are currently shipped to China.


Spain is the largest exporter of pork to China globally, selling about $1.5 billion of product every year.

Speaking to reporters in the Spanish livestock hub of Lleida, Spain’s industry minister said both regions would lose out if the measures took effect.