Canadian pork products will be back on Chinese grocery store shelves after Canada secured the first certification agreement to allow pork imports to China, based on significant negotiations recognizing OIE standards, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says.
In spring of 2009, China banned pork imports from H1N1-affected countries. That ban was lifted in December after Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited China.
Canada has since been working to develop supplementary certification requirements. Discussions on the Chinese importation of Canadian live swine are continuing and Canada is hopeful for early resolution.
While in Paris Ritz also met with the OIE director general Bernard Vallat and reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to the OIE by investing an additional $2 million over the next four years.
“Maximizing trade opportunities is a priority of Canada’s Economic Action Plan and supporting the vital international work of the OIE is part of our continued efforts to make sure our producers can compete on a level playing field,” said Minister Ritz. “This increased investment will support the important role the OIE plays in determining international science-based guidelines that govern the safe movement of animals and animal products.”
A key priority for this investment will be to provide Canadian expertise to support the OIE’s headquarters and regional capacity building activities. The OIE has played a central role in developing international consensus that recognizes Canada’s effective measures to deal with BSE, H1N1, and avian influenza.
“The positive impact of animal health policies not only on fair trade but also on poverty reduction and public health is in itself ample justification for financing and maintaining animal health strategies worldwide,” Dr. Vallat said. “Canada has always been supportive of OIE’s actions but I would like to stress my personal thanks to the Government of Canada for confirming it through this additional investment,” he added.