Customs agents in China now plan to open all containers of inbound Canadian meat and meat products and will inspect up to 100 per cent of their contents, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The news agency quoted a notice from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada which said the Canadian embassy in Beijing had been informed of the boost in inspections.
AAFC’s notice, according to Reuters, said Chinese officials were citing “recent cases of non-compliance of pork shipments” for the move and were also connecting it to anti-smuggling efforts and limiting risk of African swine fever.
Outbreaks of African swine fever have been reported in hogs in nearly every region of mainland China since the disease first appeared there last August.
Some analysts have predicted China’s hog herd could lose up to 200 million pigs to the disease or culls, with ripple effects through meat and livestock feed markets worldwide.
Reuters on Tuesday also quoted a Canadian Meat Council (CMC) memo to members in which the meatpacking industry body warned members to “increase significantly the surveillance and compliance with all requirements.”
Any non-compliance “could jeopardize our entire meat exports to China, which would have a disastrous effect on all CMC members,” the council’s memo was quoted as saying.
Two Canadian pork exporters’ permits to ship to China were suspended last month due to what Canadian officials described as a labeling problem with shipments.
China in March also suspended canola export licenses for two major Canadian grain firms and Chinese buyers have since been unwilling to purchase Canada’s canola seed otherwise.
Bilateral trade relations between Canada and China took a turn for the worse back in December when Canadian officials arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer for Chinese tech company Huawei, in Vancouver.
Meng, now in Vancouver under house arrest, was detained at the request of the U.S. government, which seeks her extradition on fraud charges relating to alleged violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Reuters also reported Tuesday that a federal court hearing will be held Thursday to set further court dates related to the extradition case.
However, no date for an extradition hearing itself has yet been scheduled, Canadian justice department officials were quoted as saying. — Glacier FarmMedia Network