China’s beef with Aussie exports may last months
Government officials concede there’s a risk a ban on some Australian beef exports to China could last months.
China’s quarantine agency raised concerns last week over labels on some boxes of exported beef that did not match packet labels inside.
While they agreed to accept meat sent from Australia before July 24, the suspension has affected six processors.
An audit of those processing companies is complete and a report will be given to Chinese authorities within the next week.
It will detail Australia’s account of what happened and a program to remedy the issue, Department of Agriculture secretary Daryl Quinlivan told a parliamentary committee in Canberra yesterday.
Mr Quinlivan said the matter was being taken seriously and the firms involved accepted there was a genuine problem that needed fixing.
“It’s not a trivial matter,” he said.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how the Chinese authorities react to that.”
Mr Quinlivan said a number of exporting countries — including Canada and Germany — had had their trade suspended for similar breaches over the past year. In one of those cases, the ban lasted several months.
“We’ll be moving heaven and earth to avoid that kind of an outcome, but it’s clearly a risk,” he said.
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