Canada has regained increased partial access to the Chinese beef market. It was lost when an cow in Alberta died of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow’s disease) in May 2003.
“Not only is China already the world’s largest consumer of meat products, demand for beef is projected to maintain an upward trend as Chinese consumers increase the presence of high quality beef in their diets,” said Canadian Meat Council president Joe Reda.
“Canada’s meat packers and processors recognize and appreciate the persistent efforts of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay, and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland in achieving restored access for bone-in beef products to this important and expanding market,” Reda said.
In May, 2011, Canada became the first BSE-infected country to gain Chinese approval for the resumption of trade for boneless, frozen beef from cattle under thirty months of age.
“Restoration of access to the Chinese market for bone-in, frozen beef products represents a major milestone on the road toward our ultimate objective: access for frozen and fresh, chilled beef products from cattle of all ages,” said Canadian Meat Council Executive Director Jim Laws.
“Not only does today’s announcement open the door for an estimated $10 million of new sales opportunities in the near term, it clears the path for intensified negotiations on the remaining steps toward full and normal trade in beef products with China,” said Laws.
At the same time, China opened negotiations with U.S. officials seeking resumed access for its beef.
The United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) called China’s action “an important first step,” but it’s just that for now. USDA (federal agriculture department) and its Chinese counterparts must still negotiate conditions for U.S. beef to enter that market,” the federation said.
“USMEF looks forward to learning more details about the remaining steps necessary for the market to officially open and for U.S. suppliers to begin shipping product,” said Phil Seng, the federation’s president and chief executive officer.