China reverses ban on Canadian pork and beef . . .
Beijing reversed its ban on the import of pork and beef from Canada earlier this week. The ban had been in place since June after China claimed it had found the feed additive ractopamine – banned in the Middle Kingdom but legal in North America – in shipments of Canadian pork that were allegedly accompanied by falsified export certificates. The re-opening of the China market to pork and beef is good news for Canadian farmers. China purchased about C$500 million worth of Canadian pork and about C$100 million of Canadian beef in 2018, making it the second and fifth largest export market for those products. At a time when Canadian canola remains shut out of China and bad weather casts doubt on harvests across the Prairies, this development comes at a welcome time.
Positive signs in other sectors . . .
Two of Canada’s largest insurance companies – Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial – also recently announced higher than expected third-quarter earnings with their Asia operations. Sun Life’s profit in Asia increased 25 per cent, while Manulife’s was up 13 per cent, with growth in China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam being particularly strong for Manulife. And exports of seafood to Asia, and in particular China, look set to continue growing as Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil departs on a trade mission to China, Japan, and South Korea in the coming days, with promoting the province’s seafood exports at the top of his agenda.
Or a function of necessity . . .
Could the recent appointment of Dominic Barton – former Global Managing Director of McKinsey & Co. and Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada board member – as Canada’s Ambassador to China be the impetus for the good pork and beef export news? It’s possible. Although more likely is a straight supply and demand calculation around China’s plummeting pork production. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the country’s pork output will fall by 20 per cent in 2019 as a result of African swine flu that has ravaged Chinese herds. Our analysts caution that this week’s positive developments are only small steps toward economic (re)engagement and do not address deeper systemic issues.
- Alberta Farmer Express: China’s pork output to fall by at least 20 percent in 2019: FAO
- CTV News: China to resume importing beef and pork from Canada
- National Post: Insurers Manulife, Sun Life profits beat estimates on gains in Asia