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China Ends Ban: Spanish Beef Imports Set to Resume in Landmark Trade Agreement


In a significant diplomatic development, China has officially agreed to lift the ban on the import of Spanish beef, marking the end of a restriction that had been in place since 2000. The ban had been implemented due to concerns surrounding bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as "mad cow" disease, which had been reported in several European Union (EU) member states during that period.

The announcement came during a joint news conference held in Cordoba, southern Spain, featuring Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares. Both ministers expressed optimism about the positive impact this decision would have, particularly for Spanish farmers who have faced challenges in the agricultural sector.

The lifting of the ban is particularly timely, coinciding with ongoing protests by farmers in Spain as part of EU-wide demonstrations. These protests have focused on issues such as heavy regulation, high production costs, and concerns about the impact of cheaper imports on the livelihoods of local farmers.

Minister Wang Yi highlighted the significance of the Chinese market and its potential to contribute significantly to the well-being of Spanish farmers. Albares echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that the measure had been a longstanding request and would bring broad benefits to the entire countryside.

This development is not only a positive step for economic ties between China and Spain but also underscores the importance of international trade relationships, especially in the agricultural sector. The news comes amid Minister Wang Yi's visit to Spain following his participation in a major security conference in Munich, Germany. During the Munich conference, Wang had emphasized China's commitment to being a "force for stability" in the global arena.

In addition to discussing trade matters, Minister Wang has also addressed other international issues. Notably, he reiterated China's stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, calling for an immediate ceasefire and advocating for the opening of channels for humanitarian aid into Gaza. Minister Wang is scheduled to further engage with Spanish officials, including a meeting with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, before continuing his diplomatic engagements with a visit to France.

Feb. 24, 2024 5:37 p.m. 2084

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