US pork has little impact on Vietnamese pig industry

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Vietnam will lower tariffs on US pork imports, but this is unlikely to impact the local pig industry in the long term.

On August 31, the US announced that Vietnam has agreed to reduce tariffs on the commodity. The decision was made following US Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to the country on August 24-26. The White House said the lower tariffs would give US pork producers greater access to Vietnam, the seventh-largest importer of US pork. However, it did not reveal the new rates.

In H2 2020, Vietnam temporarily reduced its Most Favored Nation tariff rates on US pork imports to 10% from 15%. As a result, US pork exports to the country doubled in volume compared to H1.

Industry impact

Industry stakeholders say that additional imports could have a short-term impact on domestic pork prices, which are already falling due to abundant supply. However, in the long term, imports would not affect supply, especially when ASF is still a threat to local production.

According to Nguyen Tri Cong, Chairman of the Dong Nai Association of Livestock Production, the reduction of tariffs on pork and wheat from the US is part of the roadmap for a trade agreement between the two countries.

Vietnam’s pork imports will remain high for the rest of the year, but this will not affect the local pig producers.

“Although the volume of imported meat has increased in recent years, it accounts for just a small percentage of the total market. It may have an impact on prices in the short term, but not in terms of supply,” he told Asian Agribiz.

Although prices of local hogs have dropped sharply and production is close to the pre-ASF level, Vietnam still needs pork imports to meet the domestic demand, he added.

In the last two months, ASF outbreaks have re-emerged in many provinces of Vietnam . Farmers in some infected areas are selling off their pigs to avoid loss.

Mr Cong explained that with ASF still uncontrolled, it is impossible to predict whether the supply will be affected or not. Thus, pork importation is still a solution to a potential shortage.

For related stories, please see:
Vietnam continues pork imports despite herd recovery
ASF will continue to challenge Vietnam’s swine production

Regional Correspondent and Assistant Editor Asian Pork Magazine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her ‘Biosecurity remains the best protection against diseases’ article emphasizes on most effective tools that can protect pigs against diseases like PRRS, PED, and ASF.