"We are counting on China. I believe our recent talks with the [Chinese] ambassador and the re-establishment of a permanent advisor for agriculture [at the Polish embassy] in Beijing will allow us to expand to the Chinese market in full extent," said Sawicki, according to local news agency PAP.
China and a number of other Eastern Asian countries decided to halt exports of pork from Poland owing to the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) amid the population of wild boars in eastern Poland. However, Polish government officials say the situation is under control and there are no contradictions to relaunching Polish pork exports to these countries.
The minister said plans by the Polish government included scheduling a high-level meeting of deputy ministers of agriculture and heads of national veterinary authorities from Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania to "explain… that the situation related to ASF in Poland and Lithuania is fully controlled" by the countries. The minister said he was persuaded such a meeting could push Russia toward cancelling the ban on Polish pork exports.
"[The ban] is a bit strange, because in general we process imported pork from Western European countries and send the final product to Germany or the UK, but also to Russia in large quantities," Sawicki said.
According to Sawicki, sales in the Russian market accounted for a major share of Polish pork exports. In 2013, Poland’s meat industry players exported €208m ($287m)-worth of pork and processed pork products to Russia, the minister said. Also, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which are members of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Community Customs Union, hold a significant share in Polish pork exports, Sawicki said.
Last year, Poland’s pork exports totalled some €1.35bn ($1.86bn).