The Canadian red meat sector is calling for government action to address China’s temporary suspension of pork and beef imports from Canada.
The cost of China’s temporary suspension of Canadian pork and beef imports, imposed June 25th after Chinese Customs identified a shipment of non-Canadian pork exhibiting technical irregularities and fraudulently certified as Canadian with falsified documents, is approaching 100 million dollars.
Chris White, the President and CEO of the Canadian Meat Council, says the longer the situation drags on the greater the losses will be and, when the suspension is lifted, the more difficult it will be to regain market share lost to Canada’s competitors.
The immediate ask is to assist industry with respect to compensation. The reason the Chinese government gave to Canada for the suspension was owing to irregularities as a consequence of CFIA. It wasn’t because there was anything wrong with Canadian product, it wasn’t because of anything Canadian companies had done, so there is an ask for compensation because it has been deemed from an industry perspective that the suspension was a result of what happened with government.
That’s the first thing. The second thing is to assist, and government has been doing this, to help secure and identify other potential markets for Canadian product and then thirdly, if the suspension continues, are there other programs or remedies within the government of Canada? For example, if there are job losses, what can government do with respect to assisting people to get retraining or in terms of employment insurance if it’s a short term job loss.
There are other provisions that the government has at their disposal that they can provide some short term assistance to industry so government is looking at what those options might be and they’ll be making some recommendations to industry in terms of what they think they can do.
~ Chris White, Canadian Meat Council
White acknowledges government and industry have established a working group to determine what compensation might look like and what’s needed to make intelligent recommendations. He says the sector is working to provide that data.