China to increase examination of Canadian pork imports – CBC News

China to increase examination of Canadian pork imports - CBC News
Chinese Ambassador urges Canada to forge its own path on Huawei and 5G
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 Canadian Pork Council said the inspection issue was linked to problems with supporting documents and not food safety. Still, the Canadian Meat Council (CMC), which represents major processors, urged members to increase significantly the surveillance and compliance with all requirements for exports.

Initially beef producers believed they were included in the increased inspections. But the minister's office later said they would be for pork products only.

Chinas sow herd – being closely watched by the global livestock market as an epidemic of incurable African swine fever kills millions of animals in the worlds top pork producer – fell by 22.3% in April from a year earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said last month.

Hard-nosed Chinese ambassador Lu Shaye leaving Ottawa post for promotion to Paris

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

Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement that Ottawa was working with producers to underscore the importance of heightened quality assurance efforts to ensure there are no trade disruptions due to administrative errors.

"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.

I do know shippers are going to be wary of putting product on the water when theyre not sure whats going to happen at the other end, if theyre going to be treated fairly or not, said John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemens Association.

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.

Bibeau said the government is asking all industries that export to China to fill out forms correctly to avoid any administrative problems.

"We also have a very robust inspection system which, really, our foreign partners can rely on." 

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

We cannot stress enough that the slightest non-compliance could jeopardize our entire meat exports to China, which would have a disastrous effect on all CMC members, it said in a message to members, seen by Reuters.

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

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

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

Canadas opposition Conservative Party, which leads the ruling Liberals in opinion polls ahead of an October election, has said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has bungled relations with China.

The Canadian Meat Council, which represents major processors, urged members to "increase significantly the surveillance and compliance with all requirements" for exports to China.

In the first three months of this year, China was Canadas third biggest pork export market, taking in C$215 million ($160.5 million) of Canadas pork and pork products.

"We cannot stress enough that the slightest non-compliance could jeopardize our entire meat exports to China, which would have a disastrous effect on all CMC members," it said in a message to members.

Chinas competent authorities take measures always according to (the) law and on (the) basis of (a) scientific approach, he told CTV television.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

Over that period, China was also Canadas third-biggest export market for beef and veal, buying C$48 million worth, according to Statistics Canada.

Chinas Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye says national security concerns about Chinese tech giant Huawei are "unfounded" and "baseless," pushing for Canada to decide for itself whether to go ahead with including Huawei in its core advanced 5G network.

"Canada is independent country, and you have institutions very competent to evaluate this problem," Lu told Glen McGregor in a broadcast exclusive interview with CTV Power Play.

Lu Shaye, Chinas Ambassador to Canada, said the increased meat inspections were not a form of retaliation.

He added that several "important, major countries" in the world have taken the "right, correct position" on this problem.

The United States has been pushing for its allies to shut Huawei out of their 5G networks in order to keep Chinese intelligence officials away from highly sensitive information. Canada has yet to make a decision on the matter.

When Trudeau was questioned on the subject during U.S. Vice-President Mike Pences recent visit to Canada, the prime minister said Canada would draw its own conclusion based on evidence from Canadian security agencies.

"We trust our national security and intelligence experts to make recommendations on how we can ensure that Canadians are safe as we move toward a 5G world," Trudeau told reporters on Thursday.

That same day, speaking in reference to Canadas co-operation with the United States in the case of Huaweis Meng Wanzhou, Chinas foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that Canada needs to be aware of "the consequences of endangering itself for the gains of the U.S."

Meng was arrested in Vancouver last December after an extradition request by the United States, prompting outrage from the Chinese government.

In his interview with Power Play, Lu also accused the United States of intentionally manoeuvring to hurt Chinas high-tech sector. He said the U.S. suppressed Huawei and pushed Mengs arrest as a tool to launch a trade war against China "because Huawei is the most famous high technology enterprise of China" and the US are trying "to hinder, to obstruct Chinas high-tech development."

Despite the tensions with the U.S., Lu maintained that Canada and China have room to mend fences. He said the current state of bilateral relations is "sad."

"We often say that the knots shall be untied by those who got them tied, and China is always ready to work together with the Canadian side and meet each other halfway to look forward a tangible solution of this problem," Lu said.

June 4 marks the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. In 1989, the Chinese government deployed troops against pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing, killing hundreds. China has since suppressed knowledge of the massacre.

In response to questions on Power Play about the anniversary, Lu said Chinas achievements over the past 70 years prove the country "chose the right developmental path" and will "continue to advance along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics."

However, for Liberal Senator Jim Munson – who covered the protests for CTV News at the time – the anniversary carries a different lesson.

"It was a night of great difficulty. You werent reporting live, you were just trying to get out of there alive," Munson told McGregor on Power Play.

Munson, who has since returned to the site of the massacre, said walking through the square conjured up images of the ghosts of young people who died there.

"The most vivid memory, and Im still haunted by it, is watching students pick up bloody bodies on trishaws, those tricycles with a little cage in the back, and throwing the bodies literally onto those tricycles and heading off to the hospital. You have to take a deep breath when you see that happening."

While Lu said the Chinese government has already drawn a clear conclusion on what he referred to as "the political disturbance in the late 1980s," Munson wasnt satisfied.

Chinas Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye says national security concerns about Chinese tech giant Huawei are “unfounded” and “baseless,” pushing for Canada to decide for itself whether to go ahead with including Huawei in its core advanced 5G network.