THE new highly infectious coronavirus is decimating the Spain-China pork and wine trade, business leaders have warned.

After the European Union (EU) and the US, the Asian country is the Spanish food and drink sector’s top exporter.

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Malaga-based pork producer Famadesa is one company affected by the virus, which has so far killed over 300 people and infected more than 17,000.

Federico Beltran is President of the 50-year-old firm, which closed 2019 with a record €282 million turnover.

Jamon Famadesa
SOUGHT-AFTER: Famadesa’s jamon is a big hit in China, the country currently battling the coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan

He expressed ‘total concern’ over the outbreak of the virus, as China is a significant market for Famadesa products, which include jamon, considered a luxury in the far-east.

He said: “We have had containers in the ports for two weeks, we’re waiting for them to reach their destination because there is no one in the companies that can take care of them.

“People do not leave their homes, businesses and establishments are closed and it is logical that all this affects trade.”

Malaga is among Spain’s top five provinces in terms of pork exports to China, with Famadesa and fellow pork firm Faccsa’s annual sales totalling €500 million between them.

Xi Sanchez
DEAL: President Xi of China secured a lucrative jamon deal with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez last year

After US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Spanish olives, cheese and wine last year, China became an attractive market for Spanish products.

Spanish wine exports to China totalled 61.2 million litres in 2018, worth €144 million, while the country is Spain’s fifth largest wine market. 

The Director General of the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV) Jose Luis Benitez said he thinks the coronavirus will have an ‘impact on wine sales, at least in the short term’.

The coronavirus has claimed the lives of 361 people in China and one in the Philippines.

A German man in the Canary Islands was among those to contract the flu-like disease, marking Spain’s first recorded coronavirus victim.

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