EXCLUSIVE-Canada says China will increase examination of meat imports

by Reuters
Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:37 GMT

(New throughout, adds details)

By Kelsey Johnson

OTTAWA, June 4 (Reuters) - China's customs agency plans to increase inspections of Canadian meat and meat product imports, a move that could seriously damage the Canadian industry, officials said on Tuesday.

A Canadian agriculture ministry notice to industry seen 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% of the contents will be inspected.

China, locked in a major diplomatic and trade dispute with Ottawa, 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.

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

"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. (Additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by David Gregorio)

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