The export of pork products from a plant in Red Deer to China was suspended on Thursday, prompting action from Alberta’s newly appointed Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen.
“We are deeply concerned by the action taken by the Chinese government and are taking immediate steps to help resolve the situation,” read a statement released on Thursday evening.
“The federal government must find a resolution to these diplomatic disputes and restore access to our agricultural export markets. We are working with them to do so.”
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The pork export suspension hit two Canadian companies, Drummond Export and Olymel LP, after packages were allegedly found to be mislabelled.
The release also noted that an extension would be made to the AgriStability program participation deadline, a program that helps farmers manage risk and potential losses when faced with these types of situations, to ensure that the producers affected will have an opportunity to sign up.
“Market access is a critical issue for Alberta’s farmers and ranchers and we are standing with them to ensure they continue to have access to the support programs they need,” Dreeshen said, in the statement.
“We are also building more demand for Alberta’s high-quality products – in more places – by leading and participating in trade missions to promote our agricultural sector. You can count on the Alberta government to stand up for Alberta. We will not sit idly by while these disruptions continue to impact Alberta producers.”
The export suspensions come just two months after China placed a ban on Canadian canola oil shipments from Richarson International Ltd — a move that has been seen as part of the escalating tensions between Canada and China following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China’s Huawei Technologies, last December.