FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 1, 2009
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Urges China, Russia to End Ban on U.S. Pork
In letters to his counterparts in China and Russia, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke urged the two countries to end their bans on American pork products. Locke further pressed his case during a meeting last night with Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong in Washington.
China and Russia suspended the import of American pork in the wake of the H1N1 flu outbreak. The restrictions were adopted despite the scientific community’s assurances that H1N1 could not be transmitted by food. Taken together, the two countries account for nearly 20 percent of U.S. pork exports.
“Government actions during this time of economic uncertainty and international concern about influenza must be based on scientific evidence,” Locke states in the letters. “There should be no restrictions on trade without cause.
“I assure you that my family, like families across this country, continues to eat American pork. We have no reservations about its safety.”
China and Russia are among a number of countries that have banned U.S. pork products despite assurances from the World Health Organization (WHO) that they are safe.
"There is no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products," the WHO said in a statement.