PortandTerminal.com, June 26, 2019
The Chinese government has announced a suspension on imported meat products from Canada over claims of forged customs documents, the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries.
China announced that it will ban all meat products shipped from Canada starting today according to a report in Le Journal de Montreal, which cited an official in the Chinese consulate general in Montreal.
The announcement comes just four days before China and the United States are due to sit down to work on settling a trade dispute that has caught Canada in the crossfire.
An investigation into Canada’s export certificates has revealed as many as 188 “counterfeit” veterinary health documents and the existence of “obvious safety loopholes,” the Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement on its website.
In a statement sent to the Canadian newspaper National Post on Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy said “ractopamine” — a feed additive — had been found in Canadian pork shipments and that veterinary certificates for the animals were fraudulent. The additive has permitted uses in Canada but is banned in China.
It’s all about Huawei
The background to this is the increasingly tense relations between China and Canada ever since the arrest of the Huawei official (and only daughter of the firm’s founder), Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.
Relations between China and Canada nosedived in December after Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on a U.S. arrest warrant. She denies any wrongdoing and Beijing is demanding her return.
On Monday, Meng’s lawyers urged Canada’s justice minister to withdraw extradition proceedings against Meng, but received no immediate response
Since then, China has arrested two Canadians — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spravor — on trumped up charges of spying, and sentenced another, Robert Schellenberg, who had been serving a 15-year prison sentence, to death for drug smuggling.
After Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadians and later formally charged them with espionage. Canada says the arrest of the two men was arbitrary. China has already blocked imports of Canadian canola seed.
In its statement on Tuesday, the Chinese Embassy did not link its call to suspend Canadian meat imports to the Meng case.
On Monday, Meng’s lawyers urged Canada’s justice minister to withdraw extradition proceedings against Meng, but received no immediate response.
Trade between China and Canada
China bought C$310 million ($235.26 million) worth of Canadian pork from January through April, making it Canada’s third-largest export market by value, according to official data.
A Canadian Agriculture Ministry notice said the Canadian Embassy in Beijing had been told that Chinese customs agents would open all containers of Canadian meat and meat products and that in some cases 100% of the contents would be inspected.
While the move by China comes as a blow to Canadian farmers, the is growing resentment against China and its aggressive trade practices against Canada, a significantly smaller economy.
“Are they..are they using pork to trade for the Huawei lady?“
“Even though China is facing massive pork shortages due to African Swine Fever, it is banning Canadian pork imports over its ongoing diplomatic dispute involved the detaining of Huawei CFO“
“About time the western world weaned themselves off depending on China. It’s all going to end in tears”
“That’s bad news for China. Canada produces some of the best meat in the world!“
“Reminds me of China’s ban on Norwegian salmon, supposedly after the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace prize.“
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