China’s irritated trade partners push back on coronavirus food tests

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BEIJING/GENEVA (Reuters) – Major food-producing countries are growing increasingly frustrated with China’s scrutiny of imported products and are calling on it to stop aggressive testing for the coronavirus, which some say is tantamount to a trade restriction.

China says it has found the virus on the packaging of products from 20 countries including German pork, Brazilian beef and Indian fish, but foreign officials say the lack of evidence produced by authorities means it is damaging trade and hurting the reputation of imported food without reason.

In a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting on Nov. 5-6, Canada called China’s testing of imported foods and rejection of products that had positive nucleic acid tests “unjustified trade restrictions” and urged it to stop it, said a Geneva-based trade official briefed on the meeting who declined to be identified.

Supported by Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Britain and the United States, Canada argued that China had not provided scientific justification for the measures, said the official.

 

 

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