The list of foreign slaughterhouses that no longer export to China is growing
China has asked Canada to immediately suspend exports of Canadian meat to China (illustration image). REUTERS / Hyungwon Kang
By: Claire Fages Follow
Two new Brazilian slaughterhouses and a new German slaughterhouse have just had their borders closed to China because they have reported cases of Covid-19 among their employees. Chinese restrictions now extend to nine meat exporting countries.
The list of foreign slaughterhouses that no longer export to China is growing. Since the resurgence of the pandemic in China last month around a food market in Beijing, where traces of the virus were found on an imported salmon cutting board, the Chinese authorities are more and more fussy with the exporters of fish but also of meat.
No trace of virus in imported meat
They took 50,000 samples from the landed cargo. Tests may prove negative, international organizations, FAO and WHO, may remind that there is no evidence of transmission of the coronavirus from food to humans, China asks its suppliers to sign a document certifying that the goods are not infected with the virus. Slaughterhouses in Brazil complied, with China being their first market. But that did not prevent at least five factories of the Brazilian giants Marfrig, Agra or JBS from seeing their exports of pork, beef or poultry suspended to China.
Abattoirs in Brazil and Europe particularly targeted
Brazil is indeed one of the countries where the staff of slaughterhouses is very affected by the coronavirus. But the Covid-19 has also wreaked havoc in slaughterhouses in the United States. Curiously, only one American poultry factory, Tyson Foods, has been blocked from entering the Chinese market. It is mainly the slaughterhouses of Brazil and Europe which are targeted, including three German slaughterhouses, four Dutch, two British ... For now, French slaughterhouses, very little affected by the Covid-19, are spared the Chinese restrictions .
Negotiation tool ?
The health argument could therefore be a pretext for Beijing. The opportunity to import less meat from Brazil and more from the United States to meet the commitments of the phase 1 agreement with Washington. The opportunity to divide Europeans to better reign in the EU, especially on 5G. And the opportunity to weigh on prices, while in China those of pork have calmed down a little, that Chinese demand is falling and that China has already made record purchases in the first five months of l 'year. Health protectionism is often, as expert Jean-Paul Simier reminds us, a weapon of diplomatic and commercial negotiation.
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