Meat & Livestock News

Renewed Pork Trade: Russia’s First Shipment to China Since 2008


  • After a 15-year hiatus due to African Swine Fever concerns, Russia has recommenced pork exports to China with a shipment of 27 metric tons.
  • The embargo was lifted in September 2023, allowing Russia to re-enter the world’s largest pork market.
  • Aiming for a 5% share of China’s pork imports, Russia has shifted from dependency on imports to achieving self-sufficiency and now seeks to expand its export footprint.

On Thursday, Russia marked a significant milestone by dispatching 27 metric tons of pork to China, resuming exports after nearly 15 years. This development follows the lifting of a ban by Beijing, initially imposed in response to concerns over African Swine Fever, showcasing a renewed opportunity for Russian pork in the world’s largest pork market.

The shipment, overseen by Russia’s veterinary and phytosanitary authority, Rosselkhoznadzor, on March 7, signifies the culmination of persistent efforts to reintegrate Russian pork into the Chinese market. The embargo’s removal last year by China, a major pivot in the agricultural trade landscape, underscores the potential for expanding bilateral trade relations.

China, renowned as the foremost importer and producer of pork, has traditionally sourced its pork and offal from countries like Brazil, Spain, Canada, the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Russia’s re-entry into this market is poised to introduce a new dynamic, given its remarkable journey from reliance on pork imports to achieving self-sufficiency and embracing an exporter status over the past two decades. 

With an export volume of approximately 255,000 tonnes in the previous year, reflecting a 66% increase, Russia’s agricultural ministry and the Russian National Union of Pig Breeders are optimistic about capturing a significant share of the Chinese pork import market.

The global outlook for pork production in 2024 has been adjusted downwards by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with a 1% reduction to 114.2 million tons anticipated, influenced by decreased production in China, the EU, and Brazil. This recalibration also extends to global pork exports for 2024, expected to decline by 2% due to intensified competition for a contracting Chinese import market.

Amidst escalating geopolitical tensions, notably the conflict in Ukraine which has strained Russia-West relations to a degree not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis, Russia’s strategic pivot towards China stands out. Despite the imposition of Western sanctions, trade between Russia and China has thrived, achieving a record high of $240 billion last year, indicating a robust and resilient partnership.