OTTAWA, Ontario – Canadian pork and beef producers are continuing to pay the price from a “temporary suspension” of Canadian pork and beef exports to China that was imposed on June 25. At this point, the cost is approaching $100 million and the longer the suspension continues, the greater the risk to Canadian jobs, according to the Canadian Meat Council (CMC).

On June 25, the Chinese government stopped Canadian meat imports citing counterfeit veterinary health certificates attached to pork products. The government statement said it found ractopamine in pork imports, which is banned in the country. An investigation into the health certificates by the Chinese found that 188 forged certificates were sent through Canada’s official notification channel. At the time, China said it urged preventative measures and requested the Canadian government to suspend the issuance of certificates of exported meat.

In response, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provided Chinese Customs with the information and analysis requested to demonstrate that the source of the infractions was not Canadian, according to CMC.

Now in the third month of suspension, Canadian pork and beef companies are calling on the government to issue a strategy to reopen the Chinese market.

“We call on all parties ahead of the upcoming election to articulate how they see this file being resolved,” CMC said. “The longer Canadian producers and exporters remain pawns in a political stand-off — the more the threat of job losses will be felt. The red meat sector represents 266,000 jobs from farm to fork.

“We have been patient and respectful with the government. But we are entering our third month out of China and as Chinese importers establish arrangements with alternate suppliers, it will be increasingly difficult for Canada to regain market share once the suspension is lifted. The financial investments made and commercial relations built to position Canadian meat in China are eroding daily and our global brand will be negatively impacted.”