China bans Canadian pork imports. China has temporarily suspended imports of pork from a Saint-Hyacinthe-based company, Expedi-Go Transit, arguing that it has found traces of ractopamine, a food additive that it banned, in a shipment of foreign frozen pork.
The news, first reported by China’s official Xinhua news agency, was confirmed by Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. Other Canadian exporters are not affected by this decision, announced last Friday, she said.
The case may be seen as a new economic retaliatory measure to punish Canada for the arrest in December of the number two Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
According to Xinhua, customs officials in Nanjing City found traces of ractopamine, a feed additive used to increase muscle mass in pigs, in a shipment of products from Expedi-Go Transit. The agency says that China will consequently suspend all its imports from the company, formerly known as Royal Fridge, and will stop accepting certificates issued by the company’s veterinarian and increase its inspections of pork.
Ractopamine is banned in many countries, including those in the European Union, China, Russia, but is licensed in Canada and the United States and Australia.
Contacted by Radio-Canada, Expedi-Go Transit sales director Marc-André Houle said he learned Friday that China would no longer accept the products of his firm. However, he refused to confirm that the products contained ractopamine. An investigation is underway at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), he said.
The director of operations of the company, Michel Pelletier, had advanced a little earlier that his company was the victim of a mistake. It’s not us, it’s fraud, because we do not export pork tongues. We have the proof of all that. Now, we have to struggle with the Chinese, he said.
The Chinese customs agency said earlier this month that it intended to scrutinize every import of Canadian pork because of “recent cases of non-compliance” and the risk of smuggling and infestation of African swine fever. .
Canada’s Minister of Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau, argued that these “non-compliance” cases actually referred to “administrative errors”, ensuring that African swine fever, which is currently spreading in China, did not reach North America.
Ms. Bibeau also raised administrative issues a month earlier when China suspended pork export licenses from an Olymel plant in Drummond Export, Alberta.
In March, China also stopped canola imports from two of Canada’s largest exporters, Richardson International and Viterra, claiming that their merchandise was contaminated.
All of these trade disputes between China and Canada came after Huawei’s number two, Meng Whanzou, was arrested in Vancouver at the request of Washington, who wants to try her for circumventing sanctions on Iran.