Adding to the woes of Canadian farm exporters that have seen canola shipments to China halted over alleged claims of a pest infestation, China’s Embassy in Ottawa announced yesterday that Beijing has effectively suspended imports of Canadian meat products.
The suspension follows the Canadian Food Inspection Agency having alerted their Chinese counterparts that it had recently uncovered nearly 200 fake veterinary health certificates accompanying a batch of pork exported to China.
Chinese officials say that government inspectors had last week detected ractopamine, a feed additive to promote leanness that is banned in most of the world outside North America, and had already been weighing whether to impose an all-out ban on meat imports from Canada.
The indefinite export restriction “will create a huge financial loss” for a sector of the economy that counts China as one of its top markets. “Meat processors, along with the entire meat and livestock industry, are extremely concerned as this will have a significant business impact on our sector,” said the Canadian Meat Council in a statement.
Last year, China was the second-largest market for pork exports, valued at $514.3 million and the fifth-largest for beef, valued at $97.3 million, according to the meat council.
The CMC, Canadian Pork Council and Canada Pork International report they are working closely with government officials to understand the current situation and help identify next steps. The groups say they are hopeful that because Canadian government officials and their Chinese counterparts have been in contact over the issue there will be a quick resolution.