September 10, 2019

China's ban of Canadian pork imports costs pork sector nearly $100 million


The current suspension of import of Canadian pork and beef into China is costing Canada's pork sector close to $100 million and threatening local jobs, the Canadian Pork Council said.

The suspension was imposed on June 25 by Chinese customs after a shipment of non-Canadian pork showing technical irregularities and deceptively certified as Canadian with falsified documents were discovered.

"As we enter the third month of suspension, the pork and beef sectors are calling on the Government to make clear their strategy to reopen the Chinese market and ensure we have more options for export diversification when such issues arise," the council's press release stated.

"Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has provided China Customs with all the information and analysis requested to demonstrate that the source of the infractions was not Canadian. CFIA has also assured China of the strong mechanisms in place in Canada to ensure compliance with all of China's technical requirements."

The council also believes "bigger political issues" are hindering the Canadian government's ability to resolve the issue. China and Canada are still embroiled in a diplomatic spat after the latter arrested a top executive from Chinese telecommunication firm Huawei. It has been widely suggested by media outlets that the pork import suspension - along with China's ban on imports of Canadian canola and soy - was a response to that arrest. 

"...pork and beef producers here now find themselves shut out of China altogether, the latest victims of worsening diplomatic relations between the two countries after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December," the press statement added.

"We call on all parties ahead of the upcoming election to articulate how they see this file being resolved. The longer Canadian producers and exporters remain pawns in a political stand-off - the more the threat of job losses will be felt. The red meat sector represents 266,000 jobs from farm to fork."

According to the council, the Canadian pork sector is facing a competitive disadvantage even after the suspension is lifted as Chinese importers are turning to "alternate suppliers."

"The financial investments made and commercial relations built to position Canadian meat in China are eroding daily and our global brand will be negatively impacted," it said.

"The industry also expects to have a meaningful discussion on building export resilience and compensation for the millions of dollars lost by the Canadian farmers and exporters who have been the victims of the suspension."

The council also stated that "China remains a key trading partner for Canada."

"Canada has high quality and safe meat to sell and we know Chinese consumers want and need it," it concluded.

- Canadian Pork Council