China agrees to pilot project for chilled Canadian beef and pork


China agreed to expand access for Canadian beef and pork during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to Beijing this week.

After agreeing in-principle to allow imports of Canadian frozen bone-in beef last year, China committed to establishing the documentation requirements and fully implementing the 2016 bone-in beef agreement.

A pilot project has also been established allowing chilled (not frozen) pork and beef from Canada into China.

The Canadian Pork Council says it looks forward to replicating the recent growth the Canadian industry has seen in chilled pork exports to Japan. (In 2016, Canada, shipped 132 thousand tonnes of chilled pork worth $755 million to Japan.)

“This announcement cannot come at a more critical time” says Rick Bergmann, chair of the Canadian Pork Council. “We are very grateful for all the hard work being done by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Champagne to improve access and are pleased that Minister MacAulay’s trade mission was able to contribute to this success.”

China is Canada’s second-biggest pork export market by volume, after the United States.

As for beef, exports to China have been climbing since access was re-established in 2012, reaching $61 million in 2016 and on track to hit $100 million in 2017.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and Canada Beef estimate the new access announced during Trudeau’s visit could be worth $125 million in additional exports to China over the next five years.

“I am happy to say that their demand for beef is also growing and Canadian ranchers are glad to have more opportunity to supply them, thanks to the expanded access announced today by Prime Minister Trudeau,” says CCA Vice President David Haywood-Farmer, who was in Beijing.

“If we can someday reach a free trade agreement, our objective would be to eliminate the Chinese tariffs on Canadian beef as well,” he continues.

Canadian beef currently faces a 12 percent import tariff in China — a disadvantage versus beef from New Zealand and Australia, who implemented free trade agreements with China in 2008 and 2015. New Zealand beef is already duty-free in China, while Australian beef tariffs will reach zero by 2024.

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