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May 31, 2013

China Looks to U.S. to Feed It’s Growing Demand for Pork

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Chinese meat consumption has quadrupled over the past 30 years, making it the largest pork consumer in the world.

Now, this rise in demand has caused Shineway, a Chinese company that has become the world’s largest pork producer, to bid $4.7 billion for Smithfield Foods, a major American pork producer.

Smithfield has been family-owned since 1936, and some Smithfield locals worry that they will lose their jobs if the company is sold.

“You know how it goes with mergers,” said one man. “Soon, there will be layoffs. Then they will be moving the foundation or moving the headquarters.”

The CEO has tried to calm fears, saying that that if anything, the deal would create jobs.

However, there is no deal yet, as Smithfield still expects rival bids to come from companies in Brazil and Thailand.


When I was young, my family could only afford to have pork once or twice a year. We were poor, and our clothes were covered with patches.

Warm up questions

1. In the business world, what is a merger?

2. What do you know about the relationship between the U.S. and China?

3. Which countries are America’s most important trading partners?

Discussion questions

1. Why do you think this story is big news?

2. What do you think about the possibility of this merger?

3. What do you think this possible merger, and people’s reaction to it, says about U.S. – China relations?

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