China's milk powder imports jump

Updated: 2011-09-15 16:38


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BEIJING - China's milk powder imports are soaring, with imports in the first half of this year already exceeding the total amount of milk powder imported in 2009, an official with the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce said Sept 15.

China has imported larger quantities of milk powder since 2008, when hundreds of children were sickened after drinking tainted milk produced the Sanlu Group, a domestic dairy company.

Imports of milk powder more than doubled to reach 310,000 metric tons in 2009, while imports in 2010 rose 55 percent year-on-year to hit 480,000 metric tons, the official said.

As the world's most populous nation, China has great demand for dairy products and has become the world's largest market for milk powder.

The country will consume 1.5 million metric tons of milk powder this year, accounting for half of the world's total milk powder consumption, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture.

It will take time for domestic dairy companies to regain the trust of consumers, who largely prefer "safe" imported milk powder, the official said.