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Canada will resume shipments of pork and beef to China, ending a ban imposed in June, as the Asian nation strives to fill a protein gap left by the spread of African swine fever.
Lifting the ban will allow Canadian farmers and exporters to once again take advantage of a Chinese meat shortage as the disease decimates the country’s hog herds, pushing up import demand and global prices. Last year, Canada shipped $514 million in pork to China.
Canadian authorities “will continue to work closely with beef and pork producers and processors in the coming days and weeks to ensure successful resumption of trade,” Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr said in a statement. A Canadian meat industry delegation will travel to China next week.
China suspended Canadian meat imports on June 25 after authorities discovered a certificate on a pork cargo had been forged. Officials from both countries began investigations into the origin. In September, before launching the election campaign that saw his Liberals reduced to a minority government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a new ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, who he credited with having helped to reopen the market.
Canada’s relations with China have been strained since the Royal Canadian Mounted Police detained Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer on a U.S. extradition request late last year. Days later, China threw two Canadians into jail on spying allegations, then later put another two on death row before halting about $3.8 billion in Canadian agricultural imports.
The resumption of meat shipments to China will also likely mean less of the meat going to Canada’s southern neighbor, a good thing for farmers on both sides of the border since the U.S. pork market has faced a glut.
“It’s that much less pork Canada would have to send to the U.S. or to Mexico,” Dan Norcini, independent hog futures trade based in Idaho, said by telephone.
(Updates with comment from trader in last paragraph)