China Bans All Canadian Meat Exports: Could It Be a Retaliatory Move?

In the middle of the Huawei dispute between Canada and China, now comes a ban from China against all meat products coming from the Northern American nation.

Canada and its exports may have become entangled in a political row that all began surrounding the renowned tech firm, Huawei.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Embassy in Canada has asked for all meat exports from Canada to be banned from leaving the country. 

This surprising move could be linked to the ongoing tension between the two nations, ever since Huawei's Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver back in December last year. 

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What's the deal between Huawei and Canada?

On December 1, 2018, Meng Wanzhou was arrested at Vancouver Airport by Canadian officials. This came at the request of US justice officials, alleging that Meng had committed fraud.

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US authorities alleged that she had lied to American banks about Huawei's links to a telecommunications firm that carries out business in Iran. That business was a breach of sanctions on Iran, according to US officials. 

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Chinese officials went up in arms against the allegations, with a big focus on Canada's role in the matter. 

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The US is trying to extradite Meng from Canada - entangling China, the US, and Canada since then. 

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This latest flare-up between China and Canada is proof of the ongoing tiff.

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Forged documents and banned additive

Furthermore, the Chinese Embassy stated on Tuesday that Chinese customs inspectors detected residue from a restricted feed additive, ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. 

The reason the embassy is asking for the ban is that ractopamine is banned in China, but not in Canada.

Ractopamine is only allowed to be used in 26 countries, while at least 160 have placed a ban on it, China included.

It is a growth drug fed to pigs, cattle, and turkeys, which is linked to adverse effects on the animals in question, but potentially for human health as well.

In their statement, the embassy said: "The subsequent investigation revealed that the official veterinary health certificates attached to the batch of pork exported to China were counterfeit and the number of those forgery certificates was up to 188."

They continued, "These forged certificates were sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through Canadian official certificate notification channels, which reflects that in the Canadian meat export supervision system exists obvious safety loopholes."

Thus, China has asked the Canadian government to suspend all meat export certificates.

What does Canada have to say?

Canada's Agriculture Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, said that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency "identified an issue involving inauthentic export certificates" and "has informed appropriate law enforcement agencies."

Further to this, Bibeau said that the agency was looking into a "technical issue" and working with partners in the industry as well as Chinese officials. 

Bibeau has backed the quality of Canadian meat exports, and the meat industry in general.

She said, "The Canadian food system is one of the best in the world and we are confident in the safety of Canadian products and exports."

Some Conservative Canadians have turned this personal and against their Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Luc Berthold, a Tory agriculture critic has said: "It is clear that this is not an issue of food safety, but a political issue caused by Justin Trudeau's incompetence and weakness on the world stage."

This may take a big toll on livestock producers, as this puts their livelihoods at stake. 

Chad MacPherson, the general manager of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, has said that China's concerns are unfounded

MacPherson is of the popular opinion that "This is just more punitive actions from the government of China in reaction to the arrest of the Huawei executive."

With quite a large number of opinions and people's livelihoods at stake, the Canadian government has to take this new situation into consideration and move quickly to solve it.

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