African Swine Fever Epidemic
A vendor prepares pork for sale at a market in Beijing, China (Photo: Reuters)

China plans to increase its import of United States pork products to show its commitment to resolve the trade war through large purchases of American farm goods. Sources said that China is expected to purchase as high as 300, 000 metric tons of pork this year.

Chinese import is expected to increase by 81 percent more compared to its import in 2017 before the trade conflict with the United States started. Sources also said that the Asian country's import might reach 200, 000 tons during the first half of the year.

The demand for pork import in China is dependent on the outcome of government efforts to counter the African swine fever in the country. The contagious disease plagued the nation killing pigs and hogs in the country. The African swine fever spreads fast and it is fatal to pigs. The Chinese government made all possible efforts to control the spread of the disease including the ban of import and export of pork products to its neighboring countries. Hundreds of pigs were killed during the outbreaks that affected many farms all over the nation. The fever is known to be fatal to pigs and boars but it is proven to have no effect on humans.

The outbreak devastated the production of hog products in the country since its outbreak report in August. China's production of pig products fell 15 percent in the market. The Asian nation is the leading consumer of pork globally.

Pan Chenjun, an analyst at Rabobank International in Hong Kong, said that all protein imports of China may rise. He added that increased U.S. pork imports alone "cannot offset the pork shortage in the country.

The spread of the fever in China caused the prices of the meat to increase in China. It resulted in large weekly imports of pork from the United States despite the on-going trade war with the United States which boosted the tariff levels to 62 percent. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, they are expecting the total Chinese imports to jump 28 percent in 2019. Brazil is expected as the biggest beneficiary of the increase in Chinese import.

China's plan to import a large number of agricultural products from the United States gives hope that the trade war pacifies. The trade friction between the United States and China greatly affected the trade since it started in 2018. Both nations imposed a large number of tariffs on each other's products since it started.