SINGAPORE, March 14 (Reuters) - China is likely to import about three million tonnes of pork in 2017, similar to last year's level despite rising domestic production, a senior industry official said on Tuesday.
"Global prices are still attractive for importing pork into China," Juhui Huang, Shanghai-based vice president of Brazilian food conglomerate BRF SA told Reuters.
"We expect pork imports will remain the same as last year at around 3 million tonnes."
China, which accounts for half of the world's pork consumption, has been rebuilding its herd of pigs following widespread culling in 2014 when prices were low.
China's Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) is planning to launch hog futures by the end of 2017, Wang Feng Hai, chief executive of the exchange told Reuters last week.
Huang, who previously worked for China's agriculture ministry and trading companies such as Archer Daniels Midland Co , said imported pork is mainly used for processing into sausages and bacon.
"People prefer local pork for fresh meat because of taste preferences," he said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Singapore. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Richard Pullin)