Livestock producers are hailing news that Australia’s opened the door a crack to imports of U.S. pork products. It’s not a complete change in that country’s barriers to buying American meat, as the island nation has long insisted that sanitary problems were at the root of its refusal to buy pork produced in the U.S. Nick Giordano is with the National Pork Producers Council. Giordano says it’s a market worth 50-Million dollars or more.Giordano says Australia has only been willing to take processed pork, or frozen pork that will be processed in Australia. Now, the island nation will open its doors to imports of processed ham, bacon, perhaps even Spam, but still won’t take fresh meat except some frozen products. Giordano says Australians cite animal-health concerns as the reason they won’t buy meat from American hog producers.Giordano calls that “their protectionist tool of choice,” but says now we’ve made a dent in it and at least partially opened the market. Iowa State University economist Thurman Hayes values that market at 50-million dollars a year or more, valuable news for Iowa and US pork producers. Yesterday’s announcement is not all of what livestock producers wanted but Giordano says the fight will continue for full access to sales of U.S. pork, in what promises to be a big new export market.
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