China said it will ban imports of pork products from Germany after a case of African swine fever was discovered in a dead wild boar in Germany, near the country’s border with Poland last week.
The Chinese customs office and Agriculture Ministry said the ban will take effect immediately, and cover all pork products. Pork products already on route to China will be returned or destroyed, it said.
South Korea already announced its bank on German pork imports last week, immediately after the suspected case of African swine fever was confirmed. Japan also imposed a ban on Friday 11 September.
The ban be an enormous blow for German pork producers, who exported around €1bn (£924m, $1.2bn) worth of pork to China last year.
According to the German office of national statistics, the country exported around €424m worth of pork to China between January and April 2020.
After African Swine fever forced China to cull around 50% of all its pigs since 2018, it turned to the global markets for pork, which was a boon for German pork industry, but also drove up prices in Germany and around the world.
The president of Germany's Farmers' Association, Joachim Rukwied, called China’s decision "clearly disproportionate and simply unacceptable."
The German Press Agency (DPA) reported that the German government is attempting to limit the ban. Talks between the Chinese and German agriculture ministries are ongoing.
African Swine fever, for which there is currently no vaccine, cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans, but it fatal for the pigs.
There have been cases in around 10 European countries, particularly Poland. Earlier this year, hundreds of pig farms in the west of Poland were quarantined after the disease was discovered at one of the farms.
Electric fences were erected this summer between the German states of Saxony and Brandenburg and Poland, to try and stop infected wild pigs coming across.