Australia and New Zealand deny China meat ban ‘rumours’ | Economy


The response comes after Chinese media reported that imports could be suspended due to foot-and-mouth disease concerns.

Australia and New Zealand said meat shipments to China were clearing customs normally despite reports from Chinese media about the ban on imports from the two countries.

The Australian Financial Review newspaper said a Chinese media outlet had reported that agricultural imports, particularly meat, from Australia and New Zealand could be suspended due to concerns over foot-and-mouth disease.

“We are aware of the rumours. The Australian Embassy in Beijing has been in contact with Chinese customs and no official notification has been issued,” a spokesperson for the Australian Department of Agriculture said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

Steve Ainsworth, director of market access at New Zealand’s Department of Primary Industries, said exports were continuing as normal.

“We have inquired with the Chinese authorities, in particular through the staff of our embassy in China. These investigations confirm that New Zealand goods continue to be cleared at the border,” it said in a statement.

Neither Australia nor New Zealand have reported cases of foot-and-mouth disease among livestock. But the two countries are taking extra biosecurity precautions after the animal virus was found in the popular Indonesian holiday destination of Bali.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious animal disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, but does not pose a threat to humans.

Australian government modeling predicts that a widespread outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the country could have an estimated direct economic impact of around 80 billion Australian dollars ($56 billion).

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