Canada’s red meat industry is celebrating the re-opening of the Chinese market after a four-month halt. By sheer volume, China is the largest export market for Canadian pork, and it currently ranks as the fifth-largest market for Canadian beef.
Back on June 25, Chinese and Canadian authorities jointly agreed to halt export certification approval while investigations into document fraud took place.
Gary Stordy, government and industry liaison officer for the Canadian Pork Council, says this meat-export situation is quite different from the politically charged action facing Canada’s oil seed sector. Stordy explains that, in the case of Canadian meat products to China, the four-month stoppage was over a case of food fraud, which authorities in both countries needed to resolve…
“At the request of the Chinese, a decision was made not to sign anymore export certificates as of June 25th. So, it was a Canadian decision to cease the export of Canadian meat products. The reason for that, was, there was a shipment of pork that claimed to be from Canada, arrive in a Chinese port, and it went through the normal oversight inspection by the Chinese customs authorities. It was deemed that the documentation that accompanied the product was fraudulent. That is the genesis as to what stopped the exports for China. The RCMP is conducting an investigation to determine the culprits that used Canadian documentation, so that’s ongoing.”
Canadian cattlemen are relieved to see the Chinese market re-open. While China is not among that industry’s top three export markets, it has shown huge potential growth. But for Canadian pork producers, China is their number one market, by sheer volume of product consumed. Stordy explains that China is a market that purchases, literally, everything but the pig’s squeal…
“Frankly, when we look at China, they do have an appetite and requirement for products we don’t normally see on grocery-store shelves. Pig hocks, some of the organs, that don’t necessarily get consumed regularly or in any amount. We’ve been able to really maximize the opportunity and the value of the carcass into China. It is one of our main markets. This year, prior to June 25th, at that point we’d already exceeded sales in 2018 and, for 2019 we forecasted that it would be essentially a Billion-dollar market. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of months.”
Gary Stordy is government and industry liaison with the Canadian Pork Council in Ottawa. It’s hoped that Canada will resume shipments of beef and pork to China as early as November 10th.