US goes hog-wild in blaming Beijing for pork prices

By Xiao Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/25 20:58:40

Photo: IC

No way. China won't take the blame for rising pork prices globally, an unjustified accusation made by The Wall Street Journal in an article on Monday. 

The US should instead be grateful for China's announcement in September that it will exclude some agricultural products including pork from additional tariffs on US goods, an enabler of fortune for the world's third-largest pork-producing country.

The WSJ article hyped China's global hunt for meat that it said had resulted in a surge in China's domestic pork prices and sent ripples across the global economy. 

The accusation is typical of the fault-finding mentality regarding China issues in some parts of the world, notably the US, and it fails to hold water.

For one thing, China has taken many steps to keep a lid on pork prices, which were pushed up by a swine disease that hit pig farms across the country. 

Such efforts including the release of pork from state reserves have proven effective in reining in pork prices. 

Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed on Tuesday that the average price of pork stood at 36.39 yuan ($5.11) per kilogram in the week ended September 22, a decline of 0.4 percent from the prior week. 

The fall concurred with the nation's release of 10,000 tons of pork reserves on September 19. With the second auction of another 10,000 tons of state pork reserves scheduled for Thursday, a downward spiral can be expected.

For another, the accusation is yet another example of how the West takes a jaundiced view in which China is accountable for everything while turning a blind eye to a host of China-enabled benefits.

A gesture of goodwill by China to exempt pork to additional tariffs on US products arguably deserves gratitude from the US side. 

US hog and pork supplies make seasonal highs in the autumn, factoring higher feed intake in cooler months. New rules announced by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in mid-September include a modernized inspection system that scraps speed limits on pig slaughter lines, meaning hog supplies can be even higher. 

This suggests that pork prices in the US might be under greater downward pressure. USDA statistics have pointed to a downtrend in national hog and pork prices over recent weeks.

The scarcity of pork supplies in China, if there is any, would only augur well for US pig farms and meat processors. Hopefully, the pork story could be another lesson from China about how the nation is not threat to the world, the US in particular. 

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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