DENVER – China imposed new labeling requirements on imported meat products effective June 1 that could pose problems for exporters of US pork, according to the US Meat Export Federation. China remains closed to US beef, but imported nearly 140 million lbs. of US pork and pork variety meat in the first quarter of this year, valued at about $94 million.

The new labeling requirements will have an adverse impact on pork trade with China because the cost of compliance will be a disincentive for U.S. processors, according to Thad Lively, USMEF senior vice president for trade access. This is especially likely because even though China is a high-volume destination, most products are lower in value and do not generate a high profit margin.

These new requirements are not unexpected – USMEF has been working with trade officials from the US and China for several months in an attempt to reach a reasonable compromise, Lively said. But at least to date, these efforts have not met with a great deal of success. Several of these new requirements will cause problems, but China’s insistence that exporters weigh and label individual packages of pork is the new regulation that will add the most cost and present the largest barrier to trade, Lively concluded.