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Chinese meat suspension costs Canadian industry $100 million

Beef and pork exports account for over half the $8.9 billion in farm cash receipts from livestock
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beef farming
(Ron Walter photograph)

The temporary suspension of beef and pork exports to China has cost the industry $100 million in the two and-one-half months since the ban was imposed.

The Canada Pork Council estimated the loss sustained since China stopped accepting the imports on June 25.

The loss amounts to about 1.8 per cent of last year’s beef and pork exports. Canada exported $3.18 billion in pork products around the world last year with beef export pegged at $2.75 billion.

Beef and pork exports account for over half the $8.9 billion in farm cash receipts from livestock.

Between January and April, pork exports to China were worth $310 million. Beef exports to China in that period amounted to $64 million.

The exports were suspended for so-called technical reasons similar to why canola exports were halted.

But observers believe the suspension is merely a retaliatory measure and pressure on the Canadian government over the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief technical officer for Chinese high tech firm Huawei Technologies Inc.

She was arrested at the request of the United States Department of Justice on suspicion of breaking U.S. export laws. Her arrest was made according to a treaty between Canada and the United States.

China immediately arrested two Canadian citizens on espionage charges. The matter has damaged relations between China and Canada.

“Canadian pork and beef farmers and exporters have been patient and supported the government’s efforts to find a resolution to the issue,” says a Pork Council news release.

“However, as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s representations that Canada is a victim, not a culprit, have failed to resolve the matter, it becomes clear that bigger political issues are the true obstacles that the Canadian government must resolve.”

The red meat industry in Canada supports 266,000 jobs.

In July the Canadian government provided $6 million to expand and strengthen the Canadian pork market with $5 million to expand beef markets.

Ron Walter can be reached at ronjoy@sasktel.net





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