China agrees to lift ban on Spanish beef imports

AFP - [email protected]
China agrees to lift ban on Spanish beef imports
Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Manuel Albares (R) and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER/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 Chinese market, the impact is going to be extraordinarily positive," Albares said. "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 he 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.

Albares said Sunday that he and Wang "agreed to support the solution of the two states: Palestinian and Israeli" to end the conflict. "I have expressed my serious concern about the critical situation in Rafah, the need to achieve an immediate ceasefire, to continue supporting UNRWA more than ever and the indispensable work it does with refugees," the Spanish minister added in a reference to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.


Several countries -- including the United States, Britain, Germany and Japan -- have suspended funding to UNRWA in response to Israeli allegations that some of its staff participated in the October 7 attacks in Israel by Hamas.

Wang is scheduled to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Monday before heading to France. This is his first visit to Spain in six years.

"China sees Spain as a good and trustworthy partner in the European Union. We are willing to work together with Spain to develop bilateral relations," the Chinese minister said.


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