China has warned Dutch authorities that it will not put up with the destruction of its exported meat and seafood, found to contain trace residues of antibiotics.
Reuters reports that Wen Zaixing, speaking for China's foreign trade ministry, said, 'Disregarding the solemn negotiations of the Chinese government, the government of Holland started destroying Chinese meat and seafood products held up in Rotterdam on April 16 for allegedly 'not meeting EU import standards''
The Dutch government responded that it is required under EU rules to destroy the contaminated goods. Zaixing said the Netherlands should 'shoulder the serious consequences' of their actions.
A Dutch Agricultural Ministry spokesman said, "Food that contains stuff like (banned antibiotic) chloramphenicol in any amount is not accepted and has to be destroyed. The Chinese wanted us to send it back, but EU law says it has to be destroyed, we have no choice in the matter."
The Chinese statement said China wanted the European Commission and the Dutch government to return the meat and seafood cargoes according to international practice. Dozens of container loads are involved.
Earlier this month, China's Minister of Foreign Trade Shi Guangsheng raised the issue with visiting European Commissioner Chris Patten and said the EU had no right to destroy products that had not gone through customs and still belonged to Chinese firms.
In apparent retaliation, China has banned some cosmetic products from several European countries on the grounds that they might include substances that could cause mad cow disease and has also banned medical equipment imports made from sheep and cows from 18 countries, mostly in Europe, for the same reason.
European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen is currently in Beijing to urge China to lift the ban on cosmetics.