Sixteen nations, including China, are still banning U.S. pork imports after the recent scare from H1N1 flu, which some referred to as the swine flu.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s hearing little progress in getting those nations to lift their bans which are costing Iowa pork producers plenty.
"We have expressed ourselves through our trade representatives and others," Harkin says, "and the White House has weighed in on this."
Harkin, a Democrat who leads the U.S. Senate Ag Committee, says the influenza outbreak turned out to be of little concern and the disease could not be spread by eating pork, yet these nations appear to be using it as an excuse to cut off U.S. imports.
"This is the kind of thing where, I hate to start trade wars, but if China and these people don’t lift that ban than we’re just going to have so say they can’t send something to us," Harkin says. "I don’t want to start a trade war but they can’t get by with this since there’s absolutely no scientific basis at all. The World Health Organization says there’s no scientific base for this."
Iowa is the nation’s leading pork producer. China was a major buyer of U.S. pork and purchased some $700 million worth last year alone. Other nations that banned American pork after the H1N1 flu surfaced include: Russia, the Philippines and Thailand.