AHDB Pork asks if UK pork is equipped to meet Asia-Pacific sales challenge

The Asia-Pacific region could offer increasing opportunities for global pork exporters looking forward, including the UK, according to AHDB Pork.

The big question, however, is whether or not the UK pork industry will be able to capitalise on the region’s growing markets.

“The Asian middle class is projected to expand rapidly over the coming years, with two thirds of the world’s middle class living in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030, according to the OECD,” said AHDB Pork, adding that the FAO also expects the consequential increase in wealth to raise meat consumption in the region to around 80kg per capita by 2030.

In addition, with low domestic efficiency and backyard production systems still dominant in the region, it is likely that imported products will be required to meet demand.

During 2016, of course, China was the big news on the global pork market with imports more than doubling on year earlier figures. Going forward, however, the extent of Chinese demand for imported pork in 2017 remains uncertain.

“Even if import demand does remain strong, competition between pork exporters is becoming increasingly tight,” said AHDB Pork. “While the Chinese market may become more challenging, other developing Asian destinations could potentially offer other opportunities for expansion.

“The UK currently has access for pork in the Philippines, South Korea and Japan while other countries in the Far East could also be promising export destinations for the UK, if access can be obtained. Vietnam is a key example, as is Taiwan.”

AHDB Pork also warned, however, that while it is clear there are opportunities for pork exporting nations to target the Far East region in the coming years, these opportunities will not be without challenges.

“Despite this,” AHDB Pork added, “with the uncertainty surrounding the future of UK-EU trade relations in light of Brexit, exploiting the opportunities presented by the growing Asian markets may become increasingly important for the future of UK pigmeat exports.”

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