Less than one day after the news broke that Canadian meat exports to China were to be halted immediately, Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr confirms the certificates were in fact inauthentic and that, “somebody is trying to use the Canadian brand to move product into the Chinese market.”
Speaking with reporters in the morning, Carr added, “We’re in close touch with the industry, with Chinese counterparts, with provincial officials.” At this point, it’s unclear whether or not the recent ractopamine finding and these false certificates are even associated with actual pork from Canada, or, as Carr alludes, if all of this is a case of an importer trying to pass pork off as Canadian product.
The minister went on to say they found out about the fake certificates about ten days ago as there was an issue with one shipment, and then, “found out just in the last couple of days what the Chinese intention was and we’re cooperating with Chinese officials.”
An investigation has already started, and Carr says it’s too early at this point to say if there will be any charges.
Carr also said that it’s too early to talk about the federal government stepping in to help Canadian meat producers who will likely be negatively impacted by a short or long term export ban.
“Obviously we’re looking at the situation over time and we want that time to be as short as possible,” Carr says. “We understand this is impactful, we also understand we’re doing what we can do through an investigation and through the cooperation of our provincial counterparts and the industry to get to the bottom of it as fast as we can.”
When asked about if this latest move by China has ties to the Huawei situation, Carr explained they’re going to continue to treat it as a technical issue.
“The Chinese are treating this as a technical issue. It does happen. It’s not common when you have inauthentic certificates. It’s not unprecedented and we’ll be working as hard as possible to get to the bottom of it as fast as we can,” he says.