The federal agriculture minister says that department officials have told her the Chinese government has suspended the export permits of two Canadian pork exporters, both based in Quebec.
“We have to look into this,” Marie-Claude Bibeau told Reuters Wednesday in an interview by phone from Ottawa. “It might be only administrative. We might be able to deal with the situation easily. I can’t speculate on why the permits have been suspended.”
A spokesperson with the Canadian Pork Council also said it was aware of the suspensions, and that the council was seeking clarification on the issue in order to correct it.
“We are aware that China has suspended two plants. They are temporarily unable to ship pork into China. This appears to be linked to a paperwork issue,” said Gary Stordy.
A spokesperson in Bibeau’s office told CBC News that the General Administration of Customs China posted information on its website stating that China had temporarily suspended the licences of two Canadian pork producers that export to China.
Canadian pork producer Olymel LP says its plant in Red Deer, Alta., is one of two affected by the suspension. The other pork producer has yet to be identified.
Olymel spokesman Richard Vigneault told the Canadian Press the Quebec-based company is assessing the situation, but so far there is no impact on production at the plant.
Bibeau’s office confirmed later Wednesday that the suspensions are related to incorrect labelling on some import certificates. Her office also said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was working with industry earlier this week to sort out language and format issues on some export certificates used to export meat to China.
The discrepancy would only cause minor delays for shipments that have already arrived in China.
Bibeau said she did not know when the pork permit suspensions took effect.