Economic Watch: China steps up meat imports to ensure holiday supply


Source: Xinhua(China)| Editor: xuxin



BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- As the Chinese Lunar New Year draws near, global meat producers are rushing to meet the surging demand for protein on Chinese dining tables.


China's meat imports have seen a significant rise in the past year as the government lifted bans to fill a gap in domestic supply.


The country began to import meat products from 16 more countries in 2019, with imported meat hitting 5.49 million tonnes in the first 11 months, climbing 42 percent year on year, customs data showed.


In November alone, the country imported 644,000 tonnes of meat, surging 82 percent year on year, while pork imports increased 151.2 percent year on year to stand at 230,000 tonnes.


Hit by outbreaks of African swine fever, China's pig herd shrank notably in the past year, pushing up prices of pork and its alternatives.


As the staple meat is key to many traditional dishes for the Lunar New Year, the country has announced various measures including boosting imports to ensure holiday supply.


The country's pork-related imports were expected to top 3 million tonnes in 2019, while meat imports were estimated to exceed 6 million tonnes, according to the Ministry of Commerce.


The increase in imports, coupled with pork reserves to be released and a recovery in domestic hog production, will help meet demand in the coming Chinese New Year, said Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Yu Kangzhen Wednesday.


Among the incentives to encourage meat imports...