China is once again welcoming shipments of beef and pork from Canada.
China halted imports in June, after discovering inauthentic export certificates in a meat shipment. The origin of the certificates and even the meat it was attached to remains unknown, but China’s need for meat has outweighed other considerations.
China is the world’s largest consumer of meat. It consumes half the world’s pork and 14% of its beef. But an outbreak of African Swine Fever has made it dependent on imports to meet demand for pork.
Canada exports about 8% of its meat production to China each year, making the country its third-largest export market.
“Our long-standing trade relationship with China is very important to both sides and this represents an important step for both countries,” said Chris White, president of the Canadian Meat Council, in a statement.
Speaking in Vancouver this summer, federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said resolving the dispute – which many saw as linked to Canada’s apprehension and detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of tech firm Huawei – was a high priority.
“This food is very high quality and it meets all the criteria of the Chinese importers,” she said.
However, she noted that Ottawa was working with industry to find alternative outlets.
“We are working with them to find new opportunities in different countries,” she said.
Ottawa pledged $5.3 million to the beef industry in July to expand international markets. However, by September, the cost of China’s suspension of meat imports was estimated at more than $100 million.