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China Has Little Influence on International Pork Trade

Soaring price of pork in China will have little influence on the international pork trade as the country was largely self-sufficient in its supply, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman on Thursday.

Asked whether China was preparing to import more than 20,000 tons of pork to boost supply and help check price rises, Wang Xinpei said China had always been buying pork on the international market, but its imports were usually dwarfed by exports.

Customs figures show that China imported 24,000 tons of pork last year and 21,000 tons in the first half of this year. It exported 270,000 tons of pork in 2006 and 83,000 tons in the first half of this year.

Wang said imports usually accounted for only 0.4 percent of China's annual consumption of more than 50 million tons of pork.

Wang said the Ministry of Commerce had since the beginning of August dispatched 15 inspection teams to supervise pork supply across the country. The domestic pork market remained largely stable, and pork was available nationwide.

China's corporate, or wholesale, pork price rose 11.5 percent in July, making an 85.8-percent increase on the same month last year, while frozen pork was up 89.2 percent in price from July last year.

The soaring prices, due largely to short supply and mounting production costs, contributed significantly to China's 33-month-high CPI, which rose 5.6 percent from July last year.

The average meat price in China fell for the first time in two months last week, falling 1.2 percent from the previous week thanks to the government's and producers' efforts to increase supply, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Wednesday.

The price of pork was down 1.5 percent from the previous week.

In some areas, the wholesale price of live pigs went down, the ministry said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2007)

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