Chinese imports of both pork and pig offal increased sharply in 2008 as a result of production shortages and strong demand, reports the European Market Survey, citing Chinese customs data.

Pork imports showed a rise of more than 300% to 373,000 metric tons, according to the data. The United States (U.S.) was the largest supplier in 2008 with a market share of 47% and a 365% increase in shipments. Imports from the European Union (EU), mainly Denmark and France, rose nearly 500% to 154,000 metric tons. Frozen pork shipments from Canada increased by 94%. The average import price was reportedly only €930 per metric ton, suggesting that not all of this was carcass meat.

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Imports of pig meat offal increased by 40% in 2008 to 541,000 metric tons; 69% was supplied by the EU. Imports from the EU increased by 37% due a doubling in trade with Denmark, whereas imports from France declined by 8%. Imports from the U.S. increased by 40%.

According to the European Market Survey, there is some doubt about the level of imports from the EU. Figures from the European Commission (EC) for January-October 2008 reportedly indicate that EU fresh and frozen pork exports to China amounted to 20,600 metric tons, compared with 8,100 metric tons a year earlier.

This growth was partly facilitated by export refunds until they were removed in August. The EC data indicates pig offal exports of 105,000 metric tons for January-October 2008, plus 2,900 metric tons of pig fat and lard, says the European Market Survey.