China launches anti-dumping investigation into European pork

China has launched an anti-dumping investigation into pork imports from the EU, the Chinese ministry of Commerce has announced. The Chinese government is believed to have launched the investigation in response to European plans to impose additional tariffs on electric cars from China.

The announcement comes at a time of strained trade relations between the EU and China. The European Commission is investigating Chinese subsidies in a number of sectors and announced last week that it would impose additional tariffs on imports of electric cars from China.

China called the additional tariffs "purely protectionist" and warned that it would "take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests". In January, Beijing launched an anti-dumping investigation into European spirits such as French cognac.

According to the Chinese ministry, the investigation was in response to a formal complaint from the state-owned China Animal Husbandry Group.

Complementary market

China is the largest export market for EU pork, although export volumes have fallen in recent years. Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands are the main exporters to China, with a total European export value of around 1.7 billion euros in 2023.

At the same time, pork represents only a fraction of the EU's total exports to China. The country imported more than 260 billion euros of European goods last year, according to official figures.

As recently as January, Belgium and China agreed to resume Belgian pork exports after they were halted in 2019 following an outbreak of African swine flu in Belgium. The year before, Belgium exported almost 3,500 tonnes to the country.

Losing the Chinese market would be a disaster for Belgian and European companies, says Michael Gore, managing director of Febev, the Belgian Meat Federation. China is a complementary market, he says, meaning that it imports products that Belgians do not consume, such as legs and ears.



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