China is apparently connecting a ban on all Canadian meat exports to the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Wednesday that Canada should “take seriously China’s concerns” and set free Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO and the daughter of the company’s founder, Global News reported.
Relations between Canada and China have steadily eroded after Canadian authorities arrested Wanzhou in December at the reported request of the United States.
Hours before demanding her release, China announced Tuesday that it is banning all Canadian meat exports.
A lengthy ban could have catastrophic consequences for Canadian meat producers; China is the second largest market for Canadian pork exports and the fifth largest for beef.
The suspension is in response to what China calls “forged” export certificates, according to Global News. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has reacted by stopping all export certificates to China for all its meat products.
It’s just the latest diplomatic quarrel between Canada and China that has erupted since the arrest for the apparent purpose of extradition to the U.S. (RELATED: Trudeau Cabinet Meets Our China Situation As US Intel Chief Warns Of Beijing’s Technology Theft)
The conversation between the two countries has been radically altered since they were close to achieving a free trade agreement not long ago.
In a statement, the Chinese embassy claimed that their customs officers had found traces of ractopamine in some Canadian pork produce being exported to China. Ractopamine is used to supplement pork feed. It’s banned in some jurisdictions, but not in Canada.
China also alleged that customs officials discovered 188 examples of “counterfeit” veterinary health certificates.
“These forged certificates were sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through [the] Canadian official certificate notification channel, which reflects that the Canadian meat export supervision system” has “obvious safety loopholes,” the statement reads. “In order to protect the safety of Chinese consumers, China has taken urgent preven[tative] measures and requested the Canadian government to suspend the issuance of certificates for meat exported to China since June 25.”
The Canadian Meat Council (CMC) says its members are “concerned” that the Chinese ban “will create a financial loss for our sector.”
“Our industry will work to leverage recent trade deals to find alternative markets for our products,” the council continued.
The organization’s news release reads: “To date, pork exports to China have increased 52% over the same period last year while beef exports are showing a 388% increase over last year In 2018, China was the second largest market for pork exports, valued at $514.3M. In 2018, Beef export to China was valued at $97.3M and was Canada’s fifth largest export market.”
The CMC says it is committed to “working closely with government officials to … identify potential next steps” for what it hopes “will lead to a quick resolution of the issue for trade to resume.”
The food ban is not the only way China has shown its displeasure towards Canada for arresting and aiming to extradite Wanzhou. China apparently retaliated by sentencing Canadian citizen Robert Schellenberg to death for allegedly smuggling 500 pounds of methamphetamines. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly denounced that decision and Schellenberg’s lawyer is hoping to appeal the ruling. (RELATED: Chinese State Media Compares Canada To ‘A W*hore’ Over Arrest Of Huawei Executive)
China has also arrested two other Canadian citizens, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, charging both with violating state security.
China’s hostility towards Canada is a constant irony for Trudeau, who once declared China to be the state that he most “admired.”