The US Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) says that US pig and sow skin products can be exported directly to China again.
Along with many other US pork products, these skin products were restricted from import in China in 2009 following the H1-N1 swine flu epidemic, despite H1-N1 being non-transferrable to humans or animals via animal products. And while most US pork products got back on track in China shortly after the restrictions were put in place, the skins were still disallowed.
But now, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in Beijing and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), part of the US Department of Agriculture, pig and sow skin product exports can resume immediately under existing animal by-products protocols.
"Reopening the Chinese market to pig and sow skins is a tremendous opportunity for US firms," said USHSLA president Stephen Sothmann. "I want to thank the China Leather Industry Association and the US Department of Agriculture for their efforts to secure access to this important market."
The US exported 5.3 million pieces of pig and sow skins last year, valued at about $57 million and since China is the largest leather producing country in the world, this represents a big opportunity to increase the value of US exports. In 2008, exports to China of pig and sow skins amounted to nearly $23 million before restrictions of imports were imposed.