National Pork Producers Council president Don Buhl has welcomed a decision by an Australian appeal court that keeps the Australian pork market open to imported pork.

"The Australian court's decision today upholds the risk assessment conducted by Australia's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry," he said. "This is a great victory for US pork producers who supply a safe, high-quality product second to none in the world."

The risk assessment allows processed US pork or frozen unprocessed US pork to be exported to Australia for further processing.  "The underlying risk assessment which the Australian government conducted and the court today upheld is overly restrictive," Buhl said. "We do not yet have what we want -- full market access.  There is no valid scientific reason to restrict our exports to the processed market, but we are leaving that battle for a different day." 

He noted that Iowa State economist Dermot Hayes estimated a couple of years ago that US pork exports to Australia could exceed $50m annually, even with these unjustified restrictions.  "It looks like that forecast was conservative as exports during this first year of market access may eclipse that estimate," said Buhl.