Producers look to diversify to other markets amid China’s decision to halt Canadian meat exports

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – On June 25, China’s embassy had asked Canada to halt its export of meat to China.

According to the Chinese Government, the reason for the export ban was due to a number of inauthentic veterinary health certificates accompanying some meat products.

While British Columbia is not greatly affected by this ban, Kevin Boon, General Manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, says this ban will affect one percent of Canada’s beef export market.

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“When it comes to exports, B.C. doesn’t have the ability to export directly from B.C.; we don’t have a federal plant at this point that can do it. So anything that is exported out of B.C. would go through Alberta. So we typically don’t track how much of actually B.C. product goes through. But in the Canadian market, about one percent of what we produce in Canada ends up in the Chinese market, which works out to about $97 million worth of trade last year. One percent is not a huge amount.”

To avoid a huge effect on Canada’s meat market, Boon says producers are concentrating on diversifying the market than to just one customer, like China.

“We’re very concentrated on opening as many markets as we can so that we’re diverse in who our customers are so that if we do see market interruptions, such as what we’re seeing with China right now, we’re able to displace it into other markets.”

According to Boon, this ban will have a larger effect on the pork industry than beef as Canada exports about $500 million per year of pork to China.

Boon expects that both countries will repair relations soon as the export ban will greater affect China in the long-run.

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