October 29,2009

Press Contact:

Dan Virkstis (Baucus), (202) 224-4515
Jill Gerber (Grassley), (202) 224-4515

Baucus, Grassley Welcome Chinese Decision to Re-Open Market to U.S. Pork Products

Finance Chairman and Ranking Member Stress Need for Countries to Abide by Scientific Standards

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today welcomed the announcement that China will re-open its market to U.S. pork products, consistent with international scientific standards. The announcement came as U.S. and Chinese officials concluded talks at the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT).

“China’s decision to re-open its market to U.S. pork products is a key step forward for pork producers from Montana and across the country who have seen unscientific border measures result in falling exports,” Baucus said. “Food safety is paramount, but import restrictions must be based on sound science. USTR and USDA officials should be commended on this issue, and I encourage them to continue their work in China and elsewhere to eliminate non-science based standards that block U.S. agricultural exports.”

“This is very welcome news,”Grassley said. “A resumption of trade with China will benefit pork producers in Iowa and around the country. It’s significant when a major economy like China demonstrates that its trade regulations will be set in accordance with internationally-recognized sound science, and even more significant when it shows that it will follow through as a responsible member of the world trading community. I want to commend Ambassador Kirk, Secretary Vilsack, and Secretary Locke for their hard work and commitment to bringing about this important development in our bilateral trade relations with China.”

In May, China imposed H1N1-related restrictions that blocked U.S. exports of pork and live swine. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organization (WHO), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have all stated that there is no risk to humans from consuming properly prepared pork and pork products. China was the 6th largest export market for the U.S. pork industry in 2008, with pork exports totaling over $560 million.