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Mar 10, 2004
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Manitoba, Canada
Finance minister: Canada will defend itself against U.S. cattle ban
published 10/5/04 on By John Gregerson

Canadian Finance Minister Ralph Goodale has indicated that Canada will defend itself against an "unjustifiable" U.S. ban of its cattle by processing more animals at home.

"We've already begun to take steps to defend ourselves by the transformation of the processing industry on the Canadian side," Goodale said after a weekend meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow. "If [beef] is being further processed on the Canadian side for the long term . don't blame us for the consequences for the U.S. processing sector."

Goodale and Snow are set to resume discussions on the ban following the Nov. 2 presidential election — either late this year or in early 2005. The ban has been in place since May 2003, when a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in Alberta.

"We think science has been satisfied," Goodale said. "There is no economic or trade policy justification for a continuing closure of the border. It's an issue that should have been resolved a long time ago."

Courting Asian markets

In a related development, the Canadian beef industry is ramping up its efforts to open up markets in other regions, notably Asia.

Canadian Beef Export Federation President Ted Haney, who was departing for Jakarta, Indonesia, this week, said, "Indonesia is an interesting market. It's large . but they do have a requirement that imported beef be slaughtered in halal or Muslim style."

Some 88 percent of Indonesia's 240 million residents are Muslim, making it the world's most populated Muslim country.

Following his trip to Jakarta, Haney plans to visit Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong.

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