Macron: China to lift embargo on French beef this year

China is to lift its embargo on beef from France this year, which was first imposed after the BSE crisis

China is to lift its embargo on beef from France this year, according to an announcement by President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to China this week.

The embargo is expected to lift within six months, after having been imposed since 2001, after the European “mad cow” (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE) crisis, explains news source FranceInfo.

Speaking from Beijing, China - including phrases in Cantonese - Macron announced the change, and defended the idea against criticism that it was a bad move environmentally.

“We, the French and Chinese, are capable of making our planet big and beautiful again,” Macron said.

The news comes as the beef market in China grows significantly due to the rising middle classes, while the French market is dropping by 5% per year, according to figures from the Ministry for Economy and Finance.

With this new gesture, some critics have accused Macron of prioritising the economy at the expense of the environment.

The human consumption of beef is said to be one of the biggest sources of damaging CO2 in the atmosphere, and it is said to take 13,500 litres of water to produce just one kilo of beef.

The move is just one of the latest instances of closer Franco-Chinese ties in recent months, after the 2017 birth of Yuan Meng, the baby panda at the Zoo Parc de Beauval (whose parents, naturally, originally come from China and are only in France with Chinese permission), which was heralded as a “diplomatic success” between the two nations.

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