China agrees to lift ban on Spanish beef imports

China agrees to lift ban on Spanish beef imports

Beijing has since 2000 imposed a ban on the European Union from exporting beef products
Beijing has since 2000 imposed a ban on the European Union from exporting beef products. Photo: Gabriel BOUYS / AFP
Source: AFP

China has agreed to lift a ban on imports of Spanish beef, the foreign ministers of both nations said Sunday after talks.

Beijing has since 2000 imposed a ban on the European Union from exporting beef products due to the emergence of several cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or "mad cow" disease, in several members of the bloc that year.

"It is good news, especially for Spanish farmers," Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told a joint news conference with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares in Cordoba in southern Spain.

The announcement comes as farmers in Spain have for the past two weeks taken part in EU-wide protests over heavy regulation, high costs and cheaper imports which they say have left them struggling to make ends meet.

"When you take into account the size of the Chinse market, the impact is going to be extraordinarily positive," Albares said.

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"This is a measure which we have long been asking for and which benefits the entire countryside. It is hard to find a market like the Chinese market."

China's top diplomat headed to Spain after taking part in a major security conference in Munich, Germany on Saturday where Wang said Beijing will be a "force for stability" in the world.

Wang also reiterated on Saturday China's stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, calling for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of channels for humanitarian aid into Gaza.

He is scheduled to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday before heading to France.

Source: AFP

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