China to increase examination of Canadian pork imports

Officials in China say move linked to fears over African swine fever and smuggling


Thomson Reuters

via CBC (Canada) - Jun 04, 2019


With files from CBC News


China's customs agency plans to increase inspections of Canadian pork and pork product imports, Ottawa said in a notice to the industry on Tuesday, a move that could seriously damage the country's industry.


The notice from the Ministry of Agriculture, first reported by Reuters, said the embassy in Beijing had been told the Chinese would open all containers of Canadian meat and meat products and in some cases 100 per cent of the contents will be inspected.


The minister's office later said the increased inspections would be for pork products only.


"We have recently been made aware of increased inspection on pork products," Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement.


"We are working with producers and industry to underscore the importance of heightened quality assurance efforts to ensure there are no trade disruptions due to administrative errors."


China, locked in a major diplomatic and trade dispute with Ottawa over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, has already blocked imports of Canadian canola seed and temporarily suspended import permits from two pork plants.


Chinese officials cited "recent cases of non-compliance of pork shipments" and also said the move was linked to the risk of African swine fever and anti-smuggling measures, the ministry said in its notice.


China's pork industry has been badly hit by a deadly outbreak of swine fever.


But increased inspections are "of little concern" said Gary Stordy, the director of government and corporate affairs with the Canadian Pork Council.


The council believes China's comments are "directly related to specific instances" of documents not meeting import requirements, Stordy said via email.


"We have always operated with the expectation that all shipments to China are being regularly inspected" he said...