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Stacey Vanek-Smith: China and the U.S. are in the midst of their annual trade talks. Trade has, of course, long been a big source of tension between the two countries. But there’s an expectation today that China might extend the olive branch and lift its ban on U.S. pork. From Shanghai, Scott Tong reports.
Scott Tong: Chinese leaders say they will “quickly resume” imports of American pork. It’s been banned in China since April. That’s when swine flu broke out — even though you can’t get the virus from eating the other white meat.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in China for the trade talks. In a brief interview with Marketplace, he said a market opportunity here is the Chinese eat certain parts of the pig that Americans won’t touch — like the stomach.
Tom Vilsack: The organs of a hog play a much more important role in the diets of people in Asia than they do in the United States. And so I have watched shoppers shop. And what we would not necessarily accept as delicacy is a delicacy here. And that’s a great thing.
China is the world’s largest consumer of pork: It’s the main meat for 80 percent of the people.
The apparent breakthrough for U.S. industry comes one week after China got something it wants. President Obama signed a bill that could eventually let China export cooked chicken to the U.S.
In two weeks, the president makes his first visit to China — and speculation is the official announcement on U.S. pork could come then.
In Shanghai I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.