South Korea is resuming imports of German pork after suspending them for more than two years following the discovery of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Germany, the German agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.
South Korea, China and other big Asian buyers banned German pork imports after ASF, which is harmless to humans but often fatal to pigs, was found in eastern Germany in September 2020 after spreading from Poland via wild boars.
South Korea has accepted the rationalisation concept, under which only pork imports from the region affected by the disease are restricted, the ministry said. The first three German slaughterhouses and meatpackers have been authorised to resume exports to South Korea immediately.
“Our efforts to achieve a lifting of the restrictions on deliveries of German port to Korea show success,” German agriculture minister Cem Oezdemir said in a statement. “I am very pleased we have been able to make clear that we in Germany have been able to create functioning protection measures against African swine fever.”
The government has worked intensively to contain ASF to east Germany, where it has occurred regularly in wild boars. Cases on farms remain rare but analysts expect China’s pork market to remain closed for years to German pigmeat. Rival EU producer Spain was among those able to pick up fresh business following the Asian bans on German pork.
“We are working to get restrictions on German pigmeat lifted in other countries, especially … China,” Oezdemir said.
South Korea was Germany’s second-largest non-EU pork market after China before the ASF outbreak.
The ministry said Germany exported around 106,000 tonnes of pigmeat to South Korea in 2019 before the outbreak, worth about 298 million euros ($328.04 million).