France and China have agreed to ensure the pork trade can continue between the countries even if an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) occurs, in a first of its kind arrangement.
Previously blanket bans on meat trade by China and other importing countries due to outbreaks of ASF and other diseases, such as bird flu, have regularly disrupted exports from livestock exporting zones in Europe and the Americas.
The new agreement, as reported by Reuters, takes immediate effect, and will allow China to accept pork exports from unaffected regions of France even if ASF occurred elsewhere in the country, the French economy and agriculture ministries said in a statement.
“This agreement is the first of its kind to be signed by China in favour of a European Union country. It is thus a model and heralds future agreements with other sectors and countries,” French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said.
China’s finance ministry said in a separate statement it welcomed: “the entry into force of the regional management agreement for African swine fever”.
Germany, a larger pork supplier to China than France, is in ongoing talks with Beijing about a regional approach.