Beijing Asks Canada to Suspend Meat Exports, Escalating Trade Tensions

By Margaret Wollensak, The Epoch Times
June 26, 2019 Updated: June 26, 2019

The Chinese Embassy in Canada has asked Canada to suspend all meat exports, a move that continues a diplomatic and trade dispute between the two nations ahead of the G20 summit later this week.

The embassy said in a statement to The Canadian Press on June 25 that this latest trade ban is due to Chinese customs inspectors finding residue of ractopamine, a feed additive, in a batch of Canadian pork products. The additive is given to animals to make them grow faster with increased muscle mass. It is banned in a number of nations including China but is legal in Canada.

The statement from the embassy also said that the official veterinary health certificates attached to the pork was counterfeit, with over 100 such fake certificates having been discovered. They also claim the certificates were sent through official channels, alleging the Canadian meat export system has safety loopholes.

The embassy has asked the Canadian government to suspend all meat-export certificates as “urgent preventive measures” in order to protect customers.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has not yet issued a statement regarding the matter.

A senior Canadian government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the dispute, described the matter as a “technical issue” to The Canadian Press.

The official said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is “seized with the issue and looking into the matter to ensure that all the rules are being followed.”

“This is a technical issue related to potentially fraudulent permits,” said the official. “We stand by the quality of Canadian products.”

The CFIA says they are working with Chinese officials to resolve the matter.

Earlier this year, Beijing stopped imports of Canadian canola. It has also suspended import permits for three pork producers. Last week, Frigo Royal had its import permit for pork revoked over concerns of ractopamine, while Olymel LP and Drummond Export had their licenses revoked in May over labelling issues.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far been unable to arrange a meeting with high level Chinese officials over the issues of trade and two Canadians detained in China. Earlier this year, Trudeau attempted to arrange a meeting between himself and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, but ultimately failed to do so, according to a report from CBC. The prime minister said he was considering speaking directly with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this week to address the issues.

Trudeau is set to depart Wednesday for the G20 leaders’ summit in Japan, where he is expected to rely on the help of U.S. President Donald Trump to raise the plight of two detained Canadians during a trade meeting with Xi. Trump said last Thursday that he would help Canada by bringing up the case of the two detained Canadians.

“Anything I can do to help Canada, I will be doing,” Trump said.

The Chinese regime detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor last December, a move widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on behalf of American authorities, who are looking to prosecute her on charges of fraud.

Canada has repeatedly called on the Chinese regime for the immediate release of the two Canadians from “arbitrary detention.”

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.