China bans Canadian meat imports over forgery allegations

China slams door on Canadian meat imports over alleged forged certificates


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PORK BAN: Canadian pork products in a Beijing supermarket last week.

PORK BAN: Canadian pork products in a Beijing supermarket last week.

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China has banned all meat imports from Canada as relations between the two countries worsen.

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China has banned all meat imports from Canada over allegations of forged export certificates on pork shipments and the detection of a restrictive feed additive called ractopamine.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has stopped issuing export certificates to China for all beef and pork products.

In the statement the Chinese embassy said customs authorities had detected ractopamine in a batch of pork products from Canada.

Ractopamine is banned in some countries but can be used in Canada.

Investigation found 188 examples of alleged forged veterinary health certificates, the Chinese embassy in Canada said.

"These forged certificates were sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through (the) Canadian official certificate notification channel which reflects that the Canadian meat export supervision system has 'obvious safety loopholes'."

Canadian Agriculture Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, said the CFIA had identified issues involving "inauthentic export certificates" that could affect beef and pork exports to China. Exports to no other countries were affected.

Tensions between Canada and China have been rising since the arrest of Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou, who is under house arrest and may be extradited to the US to face charges.

China has detained two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on suspicion of collecting state secrets.

Canadian pork and beef exports to China have ramped up in recent months as Beijing looks to overcome meat shortages caused by an outbreak of Africa swine flu in its pig herd.

This week world leaders meet at the G20 in Japan at which Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is expected to raise the issue directly with Chinese President, Xi Jinping, as well as the plight of two detained Canadians in an effort to lift the ban.

Australian meat export industry analyst, Simon Quilty, Wangaratta, Vic, said during the period January-May China had imported 105,347 tonnes of Canada's pork and 7171 tonnes of its beef.

"China in 2019 has been until now the largest buyer of Canadian export pork taking their market share to 34pc of total pork exports," he said.

"In 2018 Canada exported 1.33 million tonnes of pork which makes up 63pc of their total pork production.

"The US was the largest export destination taking 28.6pc, Japan took 22pc, China 22pc and Mexico 8.7pc.

"Given the recent exemptions granted by the Chinese government to importers of US food products including pork I believe this ban might see a surge in US pork exports to China as the 32,000 tonnes per month of Canadian pork that had been going to China is likely to be replaced by US pork.

"It's hard to imagine that this Canadian situation will be resolved quickly and should the real reason be the Huwei executive then re-opening of trade may be delayed for years not months if that issue festers," he said.

"The impact on the beef trade globally will be minimal given the small quantity that has been exported from Canada to China this year of only 7171 tonnes."

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