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China will resume imports of Canadian beef and pork, PM Trudeau announces

Wednesday, November 6th 2019 - 09:10 UTC
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China had blocked beef and pork shipments from Canada in June, alleging contamination and bogus documents China had blocked beef and pork shipments from Canada in June, alleging contamination and bogus documents

China has agreed to resume imports of Canadian beef and pork, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday, signaling a breakthrough in their tense relations.

“Good news for Canadian farmers today: Canadian pork and beef exports to China will resume,” Trudeau said in a tweet.

He lauded Canada's new ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, who was appointed in September, and the country's meat industry for working to reopen “this important market for our meat producers and their families.”

China had blocked beef and pork shipments from Canada in June, alleging contamination and bogus documents - claims disputed by Ottawa - amid an escalating diplomatic row.

It was not clear what exactly convinced Beijing to change tack. But meat producers said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency would start issuing export certificates immediately for shipments destined for China.

Trade and agriculture ministers Jim Carr and Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement that Canada's foreign ministry and food inspection agency “engaged with China” on the beef and pork ban over the past few months.

“We will continue to work closely with beef and pork producers and processors in the coming days and weeks to ensure successful resumption of trade,” the pair said in a joint statement.

Prior to the ban, China was Canada's third-largest market for beef and its fifth-largest for pork, according to government data.

In June, China had asked Canada to investigate what it said were false veterinary health certificates attached to a batch of pork, while the official Xinhua news agency said customs officials in the eastern city of Nanjing had found ractopamine in pork shipments.

The feed additive, which boosts the growth of animals, is widely used in the United States but banned in the European Union and China.

Canadian cattlemen at the time were said to have been puzzled why they were included in the ban.

“Our long-standing trade relationship with China is very important to both sides and this represents an important step for both countries,” commented Canadian Meat Council president Chris White.

He noted that the decision comes on the eve of an industry-led mission to China to work through any lingering customs and shipping issues.

 

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