fbpx
8.4 C
Elmira
Monday, October 14, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Pork a pawn in battle with China

Industries seek technical solution to China’s ban on pork, beef imports amid political tensions

TRENDING

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta RebiszewskiFive candidates are vying for your vote in...

Kitchener-Conestoga too close to call

With less than five percentage points separating the Conservatives and Liberals in the riding, Kitchener-Conestoga has become too close...

Organizers aim to put environment at the forefront of election

The federal election underway, environmental groups are looking to make issues such as climate change a central part...

Putting the green in the initiative

The woodlot in Elmira's South Parkwood subdivision attracted 35 volunteers who planted 150 trees Oct. 5....
Faisal Ali
Faisal Alihttps://observerxtra.com
Faisal Ali is a Reporter/Photographer at The Observer.

Canadian producers are hoping for a swift resolution to the country’s latest trade dispute with China after a ban was imposed on all pork and beef from Canada. Though the ban comes amidst wider political and trade disputes between the two nations, producers are keen not to see their livelihoods dragged into the morass.

“China is an important market, so obviously anytime we have some sort of market interruption, it’s unsettling and concerning,” said Eric Schwindt, chairperson of Ontario Pork.

“From what I’ve heard so far, it looks to be more of a technical issue and something that both sides, I mean the Chinese and Canadian governments, are working hard to get resolved. So we’re encouraged by that,” he said. “As China has grown to become a larger and larger market for us, it’s important that we get this fixed quickly.”

With China pulling up the rampart, Canadian exporters are looking for other markets to offload their products. China is the second largest recipient of Canada’s pork exports, and the fifth largest of its beef. “So we have to change the customers we’re dealing with, find those new markets. And it’s a switch: so we’ll be going after markets in say Vietnam or some other country.”

“The initial reaction is a lot of concern as we learn more and we hear both governments are actively working to resolve this. We’re feeling more optimistic that this will get fixed in the near-term versus something that’s going to go on for years and years. I think there’s cautious optimism that while this is a blip and a significant blip, it’s not going to be a long-term thing,” said Schwindt, who operates a farm north of Elmira.

The dispute erupted over export certificates that the Chinese government claimed were forged. The certificates are meant to clear products being exported as satisfying the requirements of their recipient country. In this case, China contends export certificates incorrectly labeled pork exports free of a feed additive, ractopamine.

“Recently, the Chinese customs authorities have inspected ractopamine residues in a batch of pork products exported from Canada to China,” reads a statement from the Chinese embassy in Canada. “Therefore, the Chinese side has immediately suspended the import of pork products from the relevant enterprises and required the Canadian side to carry out investigation.”

An investigation by the Chinese authorities claimed up to 188 such “counterfeit” certificates were forged. The Chinese regulatory authorities requested the Canadian government stop issuing export certificates for beef and pork on June 25.

“We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner,” said the statement, attributed to an embassy spokesperson.

Schwindt sees this as a technical issue rather than a political one, and sees a solution following along similar lines.

“At this point, the pork industry is working very hard to deal with the technical issue in terms of those export certificates. That’s the extent of our involvement. And we’re optimistic that we, or the government, can get that technical issue resolved quickly and trade will resume,” he said.

The federal government, for its part, says it is working with Canadian and Chinese bodies to quickly restore trade back to normal.

“We are working closely with farmers, industry, provinces and exporters to restore market access to China as quickly as possible. We know that Canada’s food safety system is recognized as one of the best in the world and we will continue to stand-up for Canada’s entire agricultural sector,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in a statement.

Whether a solution is readily in the offing, or whether Canada’s beef and pork industries will become the latest collateral in a tit-for-tat squabble between the two governments remains to be seen. Tensions have flared between the two countries after the arrest of a prominent Chinese executive, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, by Canadian authorities acting at the behest of U.S. officials.

China has since retaliated with the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, whom the Chinese government has accused of spying.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted.By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

LIVING HERE

Program encourages Girls to give it a Go

Whether you’re a girl in need of a new friend or just someone to hear you out, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region (BBBSWR) is offering a seven-week GoGirls mentoring program at the...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Shantz family doesn’t have to look far to find new owner for historic schoolhouse building

With fall’s arrival, change is in the air, but that’s not reserved just for the weather. A St. Jacobs historical landmark is being...

Former Wolfpack soccer player earning accolades as part of St. Thomas University team

Former Woolwich Wolfpack soccer player Brett Springer was recently recognized for his outstanding performance and sportsmanship as the athlete of the week for the...

Scoring aplenty as Kings post a pair of wins

A pair of convincing wins saw the Elmira Sugar Kings pick up where they left off when a five-game winning streak was snapped...

Young Breslau martial artists continue to excel, collect hardware

It’s been another successful run for a pair of Breslau siblings, who crushed two martial arts tournaments in the past month.

A mixed-bag for Jacks as streak ends

The Wellesley Applejacks suffered their first regulation loss of the season last Friday, bouncing back to post a tie and a win as...
- Advertisement -