Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

January 28, 2013 09:06 ET

Government of Canada Reaches Agreement With Japan to Expand Beef Access

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 28, 2013) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast today announced the Government of Canada has reached an agreement with Japan to expand market access to Canadian beef from animals under 30 months of age (UTM) - an improvement over the current requirement which only permits beef exports from animals under 21 months of age. This expanded access is expected to double the potential market value of Canadian exports to Japan reaching up to $150 million annually.

Japanese authorities today confirmed the revision of Japan's import regulations for beef. The revised regulations will come into effect February 1, 2013.

"Our Government welcomes this expanded access for Canadian beef into the valuable Japanese market," said Minister Ritz. "This agreement will put more top quality Canadian beef on Japanese store shelves while strengthening our producers' bottom lines and growing our overall economy."

"As part of our government's plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians by opening new markets, we have been working closely with Japan to expand access for our exporters," said Minister Fast. "Today's announcement is proof that these efforts are getting results, and we look forward to taking our trading relationship with Japan to the next level through an Economic Partnership Agreement which would provide additional export opportunities for Canadian businesses."

"This is an outstanding development that will benefit Canada's beef producers by enabling exports of Canadian beef to Japan on a year-round basis, while meeting Japan's need for a more consistent supply of Canadian beef," said the Canadian Cattlemen's Association President Martin Unrau.

Japan is Canada's third largest export market for beef. Canadian exports of beef from animals under 21-months of age for the past three years were worth approximately $70 to $75 million per year. The increased access is expected to double the potential market value to $140 to $150 million, according to the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA).

Since the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak in 2003, the government and the industry have been working hard to reopen markets and gain full market access for Canadian beef.


Following Canada's first Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) case in May 2003, Japan banned Canadian beef. In December 2005, Japan granted access for Canadian beef from animals less than 21 months of age.

For the past seven years Canada has consistently made representations to Japan seeking expanded access for beef derived from animals under 30 months of age (UTM) as a next step toward full access for beef and beef products in line with its World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) BSE "controlled risk" status.

On December 19, 2011, the Japanese government initiated a process to assess changes to its existing requirements for both domestic and imported beef. With respect to restrictions on beef imports, four countries self-identified to participate in the review process: Canada, U.S., France, and the Netherlands.

On January 28, 2013, the final public consultation took place in Japan, marking the completion of the public process related to amending import conditions for beef. At this meeting, it was confirmed that Canada and Japan have reached agreement for expanded UTM beef access.

The next step is for the Japanese authorities to complete the internal guidance required to implement the new regulations. February 1, 2013 is the scheduled effective date for realization of expanded beef access for Canada.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Jeff English
    Press Secretary
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz

    Trade Media Relations Office
    Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

    Rudy Husny, Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
    Minister of International Trade and Minister for
    the Asia-Pacific Gateway