NCMC in Casino is among the four abbitoirs blacklisted from China overnight.
NCMC in Casino is among the four abbitoirs blacklisted from China overnight.

How will China ban affect the Casino meatworks?

UPDATE, 4.15pm: NORTHERN Cooperative Meat Company chief executive Simon Stahl has revealed the ban on imports issued from China relates directly to labelling and product description non-compliances.

"It's been a busy day," Mr Stahl said.

"We got some in market feedback - there was some information coming out of China yesterday.

"The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DWAR) were notified last night and notified us.

"No one ever likes to lose access to a market or be suspended from a market, so that is a concern.

"Certainly, we'd prefer not to be suspended, but it's part of the job."

Mr Stahl was uncertain of the short or long term financial impacts to the business, but revealed NCMC production imports ranged from 15 to 25 per cent.

"It's too early to tell you about the financial impacts, I couldn't put a figure on it at this point in time, could be a week, could be a month," he said.

"I'm always optimistic we can satisfy the authorities.

"We have a strong business and we have a product that's highly valued around the world, it's our job to find alternative markets if it was to be for a long period.

"That will be our focus as well as getting our access back to China."

He said management had announced the news to staff, and no one would be losing their jobs.

He said the company had not been giving the specifics of the noncompliance issues but they would have more details soon.

"We are following the relevant protocol - the china authorities will discuss it further with DWAR, who will give us advice.

"We will respond, make our documentation to the relevant departments and wait for a response.

"We have to show a commitment to making sure there are no errors and we apply with the guidelines with the authorities."

He said the time frame on the ban was unknown.

Mr Stahl revealed the company was among the six banned Australian meatworks in 2017.

The Chinese concerns took months of high level mediation to resolve, which in the process, stalled beef production.

"We had a few issues back in 2017 over non compliance," he said.

"China has a lot of imports and there is a lot of checking to be done, they are a customer and we are looking to comply."

The minister for Trade has been approached for comment.

 

Original story: CASINO's Northern Cooperative Meat Company is one of the four Australian abattoirs that China imposed an import ban on overnight.

The black-listing of the three Queensland and one NSW red meat abattoirs is believed to be a "trade war tactic" from Beijing as trade tension between Australia and Chine rise.

>>> MORE: China bans Aussie abbatoirs

The three Queensland abattoirs suspended by China are: Dinmore, near Brisbane, the Kilcoy Pastoral Company, and the JBS owned Beef City, near Toowoomba.

There are fears the bans from China come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent investigation into the coronavirus COVID 19 outbreak.

Food Leaders Australia general manager Bruce McConnel said it was unknown yet whether the bans were because of a breach of protocol or an act of political retribution.

"The technical reasons have not been made available," Mr McConnel said.

"We're not sure whether there has been a breach of protocol or if it's pure political retaliation.

"We're awaiting details on how to alleviate tensions.

"It's not catastrophic, but it is a real issue that needs to be sorted out."

Mr McConnel said the banning of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company at Casino was a major concern for smaller beef producers, who use that meatworks to sell to China.

"The government need to get sorted how real are the technical aspects of this and how much is political tension around the relationship with China," he said.

"It's playing games with the agriculture industry and we need to have these tensions sorted to make sure we have a long term viable trade partner."

More to come.