Pakistan eyes the Chinese beef market
China is importing beef in large volumes to secure domestic demand but, despite good diplomatic relations with Pakistan, beef produced here didn't enter the Chinese market due to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks in cattle herds. China is a major meat importer while animal husbandry plays an important role in the economy of Pakistan, yet the annual meat trade between the two countries is very small. So far, China has not opened the door of Pakistani beef import, as Pakistan is still on China’s “List of Animals and Their Products in the Countries and Regions with A Prevalent Animal Epidemic Situation Banned for Entry”.
In 2019, both countries signed the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Free Zone Agreement. Pakistani government is undertaking a vaccination programme to address the FMD issue. In this way, Pakistan is expected to move from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)’s Stage-2 category for countries (in which FMD is reduced to target areas) to Stage-3.
However, establishing an FMD free zone depends largely on vaccines and vaccination programmes. So far, China has expressed interest in building a veterinary vaccine factory in Gwadar Port, Pakistan. "We will build a veterinary vaccine factory in Gwadar Port, Pakistan. The annual output of foot-and-mouth disease vaccine is expected to be 700 million doses. It is not only used in Pakistan, but also exported to the Middle East and South Asian countries," commented Shen Jing, Deputy General Manager of QYH Biotech, a company that has China Animal Husbandry Industry as its shareholder.
In 2020, China’s beef production reached 6.72 million tonnes, and the import volume reached 2.1183 million tonnes with an increase of 27.65%, setting the beef import record. Pakistan is ranked among the world's Top 10 beef producers but exports are running slow due to biosecurity reasons.
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