According to the Canadian Meat Council, the suspension, that began in late June, has resulted in significant losses to its domestic meat industry, and it urged action be taken to remedy the situation.
In a statement, the CMC appealed for government support. “Canadian pork and beef farmers and exporters have been patient and supported the Government’s efforts to find a resolution to the issue. However, as CFIA’s representations that Canada is a victim, not a culprit, have failed to resolve the matter, it becomes clear that bigger political issues are the true obstacles that the Canadian government must resolve.
“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.”
The situation arose when Chinese customs found a shipment of pork with falsified documents claiming it was from Canada. This led to the suspension of exports of pork and beef products between Canada and China. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been working with the Chinese government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to help resolve the issue.
In a statement provided to Global Meat News, the CFIA said: “The investigation into inauthentic export certificates was referred to the RCMP and as the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment on any details.
“Our focus now is on working with China to assure them of the integrity of our food inspection system, and resume exports of Canadian meat products.
“CFIA has provided detailed information to Chinese officials on the measures we have taken to address their concerns and further safeguard our system. We are waiting for a response from Customs China before re-issuing export certificates for meat destined for China.”
The CMC added that if the suspension is not lifted soon, it’ll be difficult to get back into the lucrative Chinese market. “We have been patient and respectful with the Government. But we are entering our third month out of China and as Chinese importers establish arrangements with alternate suppliers, it will be increasingly difficult for Canada to regain market share once the suspension is lifted. 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.
“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 red meat sector has seen its highs and lows in this market over the years but 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.”