China Suspends Pork Imports From Two Canadian Producers Over Diplomatic Dispute

China Pork Industry
Pork for sale is seen at a supermarket in Beijing (Photo: Reuters)

Canada's agricultural minister and a Chinese customs document confirmed that China suspended pork imports from two Canadian companies. The suspension is due to the widening diplomatic dispute between China and Canada.

In an interview with reporters, Marie-Claude Bibeau, the agriculture ministry, said that she has not received an official notice from China that permits the suspension. She did not identify the names of the two Canadian firms. She said that they have to look into the matter. She thinks that it might be only administrative and they might be able to deal with the situation easily. She said that she will not give her comment on the suspension of the permits.

A document posted to the website of China's General Administration of Customs dated April 30 confirmed that the two Canadian producers that were suspended are Olymel LP and Drummond Export. The document said that China will suspend imports of pork products shipped since April 30 by Canadian companies with codes 270A and 254.

The document failed to provide further details of the suspension. The Certification and Accreditation Administration of China said that 270 A and 254 are the codes for Olymel LP and Drummond Export. The spokesman of Olymel LP, Richard Vigneault, confirmed on Wednesday that its plant in Red Deer Alberta has been unlisted for the pork export to China. The spokesman said that he is uncertain of the reason for the suspension.

The relationship of China and Canada turned cold last December after the Vancouver police arrested the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co, Meng Wanzhou, based on a warrant from the United States. In response, China arrested two Canadians and suspended its imports of canola from two Canadian companies.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said last week that Canadian pork shipments to China were delayed due to the outdated forms, which certify that the cargos meet Chinese requirements, used by exporters.

Gary Stordy, the spokesman for the Canadian Pork Council, which represents Canadian hog farmers, said that paperwork problems also caused the suspension of the permit. The two companies, Olymel and Drummond, are based in Quebec. Olymel currently employs 13,000 employees and it exports pork and poultry to not less than 65 nations. Drummond sends pork to not less than 30 nations and it employs not less than 130 local families.

Mr. Bibeau said that with African swine fever, and the fact the Chinese are very big consumers of pork and here in Canada we are free from ASF, it's surprising that this is happening.

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