Sial Paris 2016

China is Belgium’s fastest-growing meat market

The Belgian Meat Office said some traders fear an over-reliance on China could be costly

China has delivered Belgium’s biggest meat export growth in the past half-year, according to the Belgian Meat Office (VLAM).

Speaking at trade show Sial Paris, which ran from 16-20 October, VLAM communications manager Lieselotte Desimpelaere told GlobalMeatNews: “China [export] has been growing more than 100% for the first six months of this year [2016]."

She said that, in addition to existing customers, Asian visitors had shown a lot of interest in VLAM’s stand at Sial.

Over-reliance

However, she said, as in many other countries, some in the trade feared over-reliance on sales to China, as such substantial growth was unlikely to be sustainable in the long term.

There were already signs that China’s appetite for imports could be waning as domestic production increased, she said. “In 2017 we are expecting at least a stabilising in China and maybe even a decline.

As a result, VLAM was exploring the potential of several other promising markets as well, said Desimpelaere.

€1.5m campaign

We have a programme subsidised by the EU focusing on China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines trying to get more exports to these countries.” However, she added: “Europe is still our main market.

A €1.5m three-year campaign promoting Belgian meat in Europe was launched in 2015.

More than 30 Belgian beef and pork exporters were meeting with new and existing customers at the show.

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