Harkin Calls on Officials to Push for Lift of Bans on U.S. Pork

Several countries continue to refuse U.S. pork.

Senate Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, asked U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to take more assertive action in lifting damaging trade barriers other countries have against U.S. pork products. Harkin says it's time to press those nations refusing U.S. pork imports - especially China and Russia – and move to apply more formal trade sanctions against them if they persist in the bans.

 

Harkin says sanctions will be different with both countries, since China is part of the World Trade Organization and Russia isn't. Still he says the uncertain state of the U.S. pork sector demands strong action is taken as soon as possible. Many countries banned U.S. pork imports after the initial H1N1 outbreak and 15 countries still ban imports even though several international human and animal health organizations have said H1N1 can't be contracted from eating pork. This has put a huge strain on the U.S. pork industry with hog contracts in June down $12 per hundredweight from pre-outbreak levels.

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