Canada’s
agriculture minister said on Wednesday that her department
officials have told her the Chinese government has suspended the
export permits of two Canadian pork exporters, marking the
latest irritant in a widening diplomatic dispute. Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in an
interview with Reuters that she has not yet received an official
notice from China of the permit suspensions, and would not
identify the companies involved. She said both pork producers
are based in the country’s eastern province of Quebec.

“We have to look into this,” she said by phone from Ottawa.
“It might be only administrative. We might be able to deal with
the situation easily. I can’t speculate on why the permits have
been suspended.” Canada-China ties turned icy last December when police in
Vancouver arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief
Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant.

Since then, China has arrested two Canadians and halted
canola imports from two Canadian companies. Bibeau said she did not know when the pork permit
suspensions took effect.

Last week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said some
Canadian pork shipments to China had been delayed because
exporters used outdated forms that certify the cargoes meet
Chinese requirements. The permit suspensions are also due to paperwork problems,
although not the same issue as before, according to Gary Stordy,
spokesman for the Canadian Pork Council, which represents
Canadian hog farmers.

Stordy said the suspensions applied to two processing plants
in Quebec. The largest pork exporter in Quebec, Olymel LP, did not
respond to requests for comment.

Canada, the world’s third-largest pork exporter, has shipped
more pork this year to China, where the domestic pig herd has
been ravaged by African swine fever (ASF). China bought C$514
million ($382.5 million) worth of Canadian pork in 2018. “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,” Bibeau said.

China is the largest global producer and consumer of pork. Earlier on Wednesday, the Canadian government offered
financial assistance to canola farmers who have been hit by a
Chinese ban on imports and said it was looking to diversify into
other markets.
($1 = 1.3438 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba and David
Ljunggren in Ottawa; editing by Diane Craft and G Crosse)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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