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China July pork imports hit record 430,000 tonnes - customs

Aug 24 (Reuters) - China imported 430,000 tonnes of pork in July, customs data showed late on Sunday, up 136% from the same month a year earlier and a record monthly volume, despite tough new checks on cargoes that had slowed clearing at ports.

Chinese importers have been bringing in huge volumes of meat this year to fill a large domestic supply shortage after an epidemic of African swine fever killed millions of pigs in China.

July imports were even larger than June’s 400,000 tonnes, which had been the highest ever, along with the same amount in April.

The huge imports came even after China started testing containers of frozen food for the presence of the novel coronavirus in June, which had slowed the clearing of meat cargoes at ports through July.

China has also asked overseas plants to suspend shipments if they experience coronavirus cases among workers. Work at dozens of plants has been temporarily suspended, even though most experts say there is no evidence to show the virus can be transmitted through food.

January to July pork imports reached 2.56 million tonnes, up from just over 1 million tonnes a year ago.

Imports of pork including offal in July came to 560,000 tonnes, bringing total imports for this year to end-July to 3.38 million tonnes, the data also showed.

Beef imports in July came to 210,000 tonnes, said customs, with shipments for the first seven months reaching 1.2 million tonnes. (Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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