China confirmed Wednesday that it would resume Canadian meat imports, but called for Ottawa to release a detained Huawei executive to get frosty relations between the two countries on the “right track”.
Beijing blocked beef and pork shipments from Canada in June, alleging contamination in pork shipments and bogus documents — claims disputed by Canada.
The move was seen as an escalation in response to Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US extradition request related to alleged Iran sanctions violations.
But Beijing said Wednesday that Ottawa had introduced an action plan which “basically meets the requirements for ensuring safety”, and said China would start accepting health certificates for meat imported from Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Tuesday that China would resume the imports, thanking the new Canadian ambassador to Beijing and the meat industry “for their work on re-opening this important market for our meat producers and their families”.
Beijing declined to say if the measure was a sign that the China-Canada relationship was improving.
The Chinese side is not responsible for the difficulties encountered in China-Canada relations,” said Geng, who called for Ottawa to release Meng and let her “safely return to China”.
He urged the “new Canadian government to… advance China-Canada relations through practical actions, so that they return to the right track as soon as possible”.
Meng’s extradition hearing is set to start in January.
Relations between the two countries have been frosty in recent months.
Shortly after Meng’s detention, Beijing detained two Canadians and months later accused them of espionage-related activities.
The official Xinhua news agency said in June that Chinese customs officials had found ractopamine in pork shipments — an additive widely used in the US but banned in the European Union and China.
China also continues to block billions worth of Canadian canola sales.