Some food-exporting countries are increasingly dissatisfied with China's tighter scrutiny and testing of imported frozen products for coronavirus, according to media reports.
In a World Trade Organization meeting earlier this month, Canada called China's practice of testing imported foods and rejecting products that test positive for COVID-19 "unjustified trade restrictions" and urged it to stop, a recent Reuters report said, citing an anonymous Geneva-based trade official.
Considering the rapid growth in China's food imports from various markets over the years, such rumbles of discontent about tighter scrutiny of imported food are understandable to a certain extent. Yet, from China's point of view, safeguarding public health and food safety are priorities that come before trade.
As the world has fully recognized the sheer magnitude of the shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it's mere selfishness for anyone to focus only on the interests of their exporters and demand that the Chinese government stop testing their products that may potentially carry the virus. Any disregard for public health risks will only cause consumer disgust in the Chinese market, especially after the COVID-19 epidemic.
China places human life before economic interest, and that's why the Chinese government is willing to make a huge economic sacrifice to ensure the safety of people's lives during its anti-epidemic fight. By comparison, some countries care more about economic gains than the risk of the virus spreading, leading to a disastrous situation.
If countries like Canada want to protect the interests of their exporters, then, instead of criticizing China's virus prevention measures in the global arena, they could make efforts to strengthen their own export reviews to build a virus-free reputation for their food exports.
The purpose of enhanced coronavirus testing of imported frozen foods in China is not to block imports from certain countries, but to ensure health and food safety for the public. As regards complaints that China doesn't share the results of virus detections on food and packaging, it is clearly a distortion of the facts.
China's official reports of cases of coronavirus-contaminated imported frozen products usually give detailed information about times, places, goods, relevant companies and the people involved.
Curbing the spread of the coronavirus is a new issue that all countries have to face. China has adopted methods that can protect public safety by minimizing the damage to trade and businesses. If any country has a better idea, all parties could discuss and study its feasibility. If there is no better choice, then China's practice should at least get its share of respect.