Reps from the Canadian beef and pork industries recently met with Chinese officials to discuss requirements for unobstructed imports of Canadian meat
By Jackie Clark
A delegation from Canada’s red meat industry recently returned from a ten-day trip to China.
While there, the representatives met with Chinese officials involved in importing Canadian meat to discuss how trade can run smoothly between the two countries. The delegates also explored ways to prevent issues like the recently ended suspension of Canadian beef and pork imports.
The group consisted of reps from the Canadian Pork Council (CPC), the Canadian Meat Council, meat processors, the Canadian Cattleman’s Association and Canada Pork International.
“This was a follow-up trip (to a Sept. visit) to reinforce and build on what we learned from the first one. We oversimplify and suggest it’s (about) building relationships, but it’s certainly much more than that,” Gary Stordy, director of government and corporate affairs for CPC, told Farms.com.
“The second trip was planned prior to us learning about the market re-opening. Once we learned that the market was reopening, the trip took on even more importance,” Stordy explained.
“We visited the three major ports where Canadian pork is shipped to,” he said. “We wanted to visit with customers, port authorities, as well as other parties involved in the importing Canadian of pork.”
The Canadian delegation had three main objectives: to hear experiences from individuals involved in importing Canadian pork, to understand where things could be improved, and to explain to Chinese officials the steps that the Canadian industry is taking to make importing meat less complicated, Stordy explained.
“We’re confident that we provide a safe, quality product, but there were some gaps with paperwork that accompanies the meat and validates the efforts that the industry goes through,” he said. “It comes down to the paperwork that demonstrates that we’re doing what we say we’re doing.”
The conversations the Canadian reps had with Chinese officials “reinforced the importance of making sure that the process of shipping pork is efficient,” Stordy said.
“There are changes taking place in requirements for importing pork or importing products into China period. We need to stay on top of that process and understanding what those requirements are,” he added.
Overall, the general tone of conversations and trade relationships between China and Canada is encouraging, Stordy said.
“We had some good meetings where (Chinese officials) were very frank in raising their concerns about the experiences they’ve had in dealing with Canadian pork imports. (The officials) provided feedback on where we’ve needed to improve, and they are quite comfortable with some of the solutions we’ve provided,” Stordy said.
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