In a major development, Pakistan has won China’s approval for meat export after a private sector company established a heat treatment facility to remove virus, if any, from export consignments. China is the largest producer and importer of meat in the world.

It imported meat worth $2.21 billion in February 2021, which was 10% higher compared to the same month of previous year.

“The Organic Meat Company has received approval and has been granted registration by the Chinese Customs authorities for export of heat treated beef to China,” announced Company Secretary Abdul Quadir in a notification sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday.

The company has pioneered the heat treatment process during which foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus can be removed from beef.

“This process enables the company to access more markets for value-added meat products,” he said.

“We have set up a 300-ton per month heat treatment facility (for China and similar markets),” CEO Faisal Hussain told The Express Tribune. “We would consider expansion when needed.”

As far as export potential to China is concerned, “I would say sky is the limit. China remains the single largest … importer of meat in the world,” he said.

He pointed out that Russia, China, Indonesia and South Korea were the markets which imported heat treated meat from around the world. “We are also working to win Russia’s approval (for meat export),” he said.

The Organic Meat Company’s share price dropped 1.09% or Rs0.34 to close at Rs30.92 with 2.87 million shares changing hands at the PSX on Friday.

Pakistan’s meat and meat preparation exports stood at only $216.2 million in the first eight months (JulFeb) of current fiscal year.

They rose 2.6% compared to exports of $210.73 million in the same period of previous fiscal year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

China is the largest trade partner of Pakistan with bilateral trade touching $20 billion in the previous fiscal year.

However, the trade balance was heavily in favour of China whose exports to Pakistan had 85% share in the bilateral trade volume.

Earlier, Pakistan signed an agreement with China for establishing an FMDfree zone with the objective of meat and meat preparation exports to Beijing.

The agreement was signed during the visit of China’s Deputy President Wang Qishan to Pakistan in May 2019.

A government official, however, said that the zone was yet to be constructed where Pakistani and Chinese companies would set up a heat treatment facility in the form of joint venture to serve Chinese and other global markets.

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