Canadian-Asian Beef Trade

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Mar 10, 2004
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Manitoba, Canada
Cdn Beef Officials Pleased With Asian Meetings

Winnipeg, MB, Oct 19, 2004 (Resource News International via COMTEX) -- Canada is moving closer towards resuming beef trade with Asian markets, said senior Canadian industry representatives who accompanied Agriculture Minister, Andy Mitchell, on his recent trip to the region. Indications that Japan was interested in coming up with one deal for North American beef, as opposed to two separate deals, was of particular importance.

During the week of Oct. 11-15 The Canadian delegation met with government and industry officials in China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong in an attempt move along efforts to reestablish the beef trade which was put on hold when BSE was discovered in a Canadian cow in May, 2003.

Discussions primarily revolved around the measures Canada has in place to address the BSE situation, while advancing the case to increase market access for Canadian products.

Stan Eby, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA), was pleased with the reception the Canadian delegation received during it's trip. He pointed out that China signed protocols which should allow for the reinstatement of Canadian bovine semen and embryo imports.

Ted Haney, president of the Canada Beef Export Federation, felt China was now set to begin substantive negotiations on granting access to Canadian beef.

Progress was also made in Japan. "Japan is quite anxious to see trade resume," said Eby. He said the country indicated it would like to see one deal for North America, rather than separate agreements with the US and Canada. Japan also showed a great deal of interest in Canada's mandatory identification program.

South Korea is closely watching both Japan and the US and have noticed that the US is asking for more access in Korea than it currently grants to Canada, said Haney. The Korean position was that the US should either scale down it's request and only ask for the access it already grants to Canada, or increase the access for Canadian beef into the US, said Haney.

Haney also visited Indonesia and Taiwan, prior to meeting up with the Ag Minister. Indonesia has already opened it's borders to US beef, but remains closed to Canada. He thought the discussions in Indonesia were positive and helped establish links between the US and Canada when it comes to animal health.

The reestablishment of trade with Indonesia would also help open the door to nearby Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, said Haney.

Taiwan is also close to opening it's borders to Canadian beef, and would like to do so on a similar time frame with the US, said Haney. He thought an information campaign was needed now to help deliver information about the Canadian product and explain the safety.

Expanding Canadian beef exports is important as the country works to increase it's slaughter capacity and reduce it's dependence on the US, said Haney.

Canadian beef exports for the first six months of 2004 came in at roughly 260,000 metric tons, said Haney, which was relatively on par with the pre-BSE levels. Of the exports, 75% moved to the US, only slightly above the 73% seen during the first six months of 2002. The Canadian industry is working to increase total annual exports from 520,000 metric tons to 1 million tons by 2007, said Haney. At the same time, the goal is to have non-US destinations account for 50% of the exports, as opposed to current levels of roughly 25%.

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