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Meat industry groups concerned over China export ban, working with government

Last Updated Jun 26, 2019 at 11:55 am PDT

FILE - Cattle graze near Black Diamond, Alta., on May 13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Kevin Boon, the general manager of the BC Cattlemen's Association, says he's pleased both sides are still talking

The Canadian Meat Council says in a statement that the entire meat and livestock industry is concerned

Pork and beef industry associations say they’re working with the Canadian government to regain access to China after it temporarily banned Canadian beef and pork imports.

The Chinese Embassy said Tuesday it asked Canada to suspend all meat exports after Chinese customs inspectors detected residue from a feed additive that is restricted in China in a batch of Canadian pork products.

A subsequent investigation found forged veterinary health certificates attached to the batch.

The Canadian Meat Council says in a statement that the entire meat and livestock industry, including meat processors, is concerned about financial losses stemming from the ban.

Canada has exported roughly $63.6 million in beef and veal, and about $310.2 million in pork to China as of April 2019, according to Statistics Canada.

Kevin Boon, the general manager of the BC Cattlemen’s Association, says he’s pleased both sides are at least still talking to each other.

“That’s a positive. Whenever we see this, sometimes we go into our separate corners, kick the dirt a little bit and try and decide how to do it. But I think the positive is they’re trying to work towards a resolution and hopefully that comes soon so we don’t have too big of a disruption,” he says.

“We would like to see it resolved as quick as possible. However, that represents about one per cent of what we produce in Canada for beef, so we can accommodate other markets and do it without a huge impact on prices at this point in time.”

The CMC says it is working with the Canadian Pork Council, Canada Pork International and government officials to address the situation.

This latest escalation of retaliation linked to December’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Japan for another G20 Summit.

He’s expected to seek support from other world leaders in resolving this diplomatic dispute which includes China keeping two Canadian men from leaving Beijing.