Sunday, October 14, 2012

Special Port for Meat in Chongqing

Chongqing, the giant city in western China, has built  the first inland port for receiving imported meats. According to an article from the Chongqing Commercial News, the facility is expected to reduce the cost of imported meats by reducing the number of intermediaries between the coast and the final consumer. The port, built by Chongqing's inspection and quarantine authority, includes cold storage facilities and appears to be a measure intended to reduce food prices.

Chongqing's famous hot pot cuisine, which involves cooking all kinds of animal parts in a pot of boiling water, is said to be a driver of this trade. According to sources, Chongqing imports 40,000 metric tons annually of beef stomachs and other meat byproducts imported mainly from the U.S., Brazil, India and other countries. (Stomachs, brains, organs and other offal are much cheaper overseas than in China.) The new facility is expected to cut the cost of meat for Chongqing consumers by 350-to-400 yuan per metric ton, standardize procedures for importing meats to Chongqing and improve the quality and safety of meats.

The meat import facility is a bellwether of China's expanding meat trade.  Chongqing is in the middle of China's biggest pork-production area--which also has the highest animal feed prices in China. Yet it has become public policy to promote imports of meat there.

According to the report, Chongqing's inspection and quarantine authority is also requesting authority from the national inspection and quarantine agency to set up similar facilities to promote imports of seedlings, fruit, automobiles and scrap metal.

In a reflection of China's desperation to kick-start its export business, Chongqing's inspection and quarantine authority also waived fees for inspections, testing and other services for about 2000 exporting businesses. The fees are estimated to be worth 12 million yuan annually. The electronics industry is said to be the biggest beneficiary of the export fee waiver.

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