China to accept Canadian chilled beef, pork in pilot project

Taste-testing during a Canadian Beef Advantage Seminar in Shanghai in 2013. (Canada Beef via YouTube)

Exporters of Canadian beef and pork are set to get expanded access to the “massive” Chinese market through a new bilateral pilot project.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday announced a series of joint initiatives and agreements in several fields including “a pilot project for the export of Canadian chilled beef and pork.”

The agreements announced Monday also commit the two countries to “fully implementing” an agreement reached last year to “expand market access for Canadian frozen bone-in beef, and Chinese filled grain products.”

Canadian beef exports until now have been limited to frozen boneless beef, with bone-in access approved in principle last year, subject to setting up documentation requirements, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said Monday.

The CCA noted the “massive potential” for Canadian beef in China, given the latter country’s middle class which is already “several times larger than the entire Canadian population and growing.”

For Canada’s pork sector, meanwhile, Monday’s announcement “cannot come at a more critical time,” Canadian Pork Council chair Rick Bergmann said in a separate release.

“As a direct result of this agreement, we could see increased industry exports up to $100 million for pork and up to $125 million for beef respectively over the next five years” Canadian Meat Council president Chris White said in a separate release.

The beef, pork and packer organizations on Monday pressed the federal government to pursue trade talks with China, so as to re-level their playing field with competing meat-exporting nations.

For example, the CCA said, Canadian beef cuts today are subject to a 12 per cent Chinese import tariff. New Zealand and Australia, which have had free trade pacts with China since 2008 and 2015 respectively, today have tariffs of zero and 7.2 per cent on their beef exports to China.

“If (Canada) can someday reach a free trade agreement (with China), our objective would be to eliminate the Chinese tariffs on Canadian beef as well,” CCA vice-president David Haywood-Farmer said Monday.

Meanwhile, for Canada’s pork sector, which ships over 70 per cent of its product out of the country, China is the second-biggest volume export market after the U.S. and Canada’s second largest national two-way trade partner, the CPC said Monday.

However, the CPC said in a separate release Nov. 23, following a week-long trade mission to China with Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, “Australia’s geographic advantage, new rail lines from the EU, and the U.S.’s strong focus on trade with China, mean they are becoming increasingly competitive.” — Network


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