China agrees to resume Belgian pork imports
Belgium and China have reached an agreement to recommence the export of Belgian pork. The agreement comes during the visit of prime minister Alexander De Croo and Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib to China.
In 2019, China halted Belgian pork imports following the African swine fever epidemic. Although Belgium was officially declared disease-free in 2020, pork exports to China had not yet resumed.
Since 2021, both Lahbib and federal Agriculture minister David Clarinval have engaged in extensive negotiations with their Chinese counterparts, supported by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain and the diplomatic community.
The agency sent a representative to China to address issues including pork exports. An announcement by Clarinval and Lahbib on Friday confirms that exports to China will soon restart.
Belgium's 5,750 pig farmers collectively produce more than 1 million tonnes of pork annually. In 2018, before the imposition of the Chinese embargo, Belgium exported 3,474 tonnes of pork to China.
Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib at the opening of the new Belgian embassy in Beijing, China © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE