Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 19, 2013 13:31 ET

Ministers Ritz and Fast Highlight Harper Government's Strong Track Record Supporting Canada's World-Class Cattle and Beef Industry

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2013) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast met with cattle and beef industry members today during Canada Beef Inc.'s 2nd Annual Forum. They were joined by key stakeholders from the beef and cattle industry to discuss the various ways industry and government are working together to expand market access and increase exports and to discuss next steps to ensure Canadian interests in the sector are vigorously defended.

"Our government is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our beef and cattle industry to restore past markets and to open new ones that will create new opportunities for our producers and exporters," said Minister Ritz. "More exports mean more jobs for Canadians, more money for farmers, and long-term growth for the Canadian economy."

"Our government understands the importance of global markets to the families that rely on our world-class beef and cattle industry for their livelihood," said Minister Fast. "While we have accomplished a great deal in opening, re-opening, and expanding international markets for Canadian cattle and beef, we know more needs to be done. That's why we will continue to open new markets around the world for the industry, continue to fight for fair and open access for our producers and exporters and against unscientific trade restrictions on Canadian products, and continue to vigorously defend Canadian interests."

Since 2006, the Harper Government has been working hard to open, restore or expand market access for high-quality cattle and beef products using a science-based approach to trade. Government and industry continue to work closely to expand market access for Canadian beef and cattle producers. Ongoing efforts have yielded many significant accomplishments in recent years.

These achievements include restoring market access for cattle and beef to many of Canada's priority markets, including in the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, South America and Asia. Last May, Prime Minister Harper announced full beef access to Chile, which industry estimates will be a market of up to $10 million annually.

In addition to market access issues, Canada also continues to stand up for its livestock producers by pursuing all options available to resolve the dispute on U.S. country of origin labelling (COOL), most recently by requesting the establishment of a World Trade Organization compliance panel on COOL.

Recognizing that science and innovation are essential in helping enhance the sector's competitiveness, in August the Government announced a $14 million investment for an industry-lead research beef cluster that will enhance the competitiveness of Canada's beef sector.

This year, Canada Beef Inc.'s Annual Forum is focused on branding. Promoting Canada's food products to markets world-wide is an important part of Growing Forward 2 (GF 2), with governments agreeing to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness, and market development. Under GF 2, governments are continuing to strengthen market access activities with our Trade Commissioner Service, trade shows, branding and market reports.

Through close collaboration and tireless effort, industry and government have worked together to place Canada among the top beef producing and exporting nations in the world. In 2012, Canadian beef producers exported more than $2 billion in live cattle and beef to global markets, while bringing more than $6.5 billion to the farm gate.


Canada's Beef and Cattle Market Access Achievements

Ten years ago, the Canadian cattle, beef and small ruminants industries were affected by market closures that created significant financial losses to producers across the country. Today, the Harper Government continues to work hard with industry to increase market access for Canadian producers, advocating a science-based approach to trade.

Many priority export markets for beef took years of sustained effort to re-open their borders.

Restoring market access for beef has been a lengthy, resource-intensive process; however, with the coordinated efforts of Government and industry, the number of market access achievements for beef exports continues to grow.

This work has paid off. To date, beef and cattle access gains have been achieved in more than 50 markets around the world. Market access is crucial for the Canadian beef industry to remain competitive. Either directly or indirectly, the cattle and beef industry generated 228,811 jobs in the country in 2011. While the job is never done, through hard work and unprecedented collaboration between governments and industry, Canada's beef and cattle industry continues to make a remarkable comeback.

Recent successes in our most important markets include:

  1. UNITED STATES (U.S): Since 2007, Canada has had full access to the U.S. for beef and cattle (born after 2008). The U.S. was Canada's top export market for beef in 2012.
  2. MEXICO: Mexico re-established full access for under thirty month (UTM) beef in 2006 (excluding UTM ground beef). Mexico was Canada's second largest market for beef in 2012.
  3. JAPAN: In January 2013, Canada achieved improved access for beef to include UTM beef. Japan was Canada's fourth largest market for beef in 2012.
  4. SOUTH KOREA: In January 2012, Canada regained access for UTM beef to South Korea. South Korea was the last significant Asian market to lift the ban, and was Canada's sixth largest export market for beef in 2012.

Advocating a science-based approach to decision-making, the Government of Canada continues to work to increase market access for Canada's beef industry. In addition to re-gaining markets following BSE, there are also several key issues to resolve and negotiations to complete that will improve industry's access to international markets. Resolving Country-of-Origin Labelling issues in the U.S., and completing the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement would further grow opportunities for Canadian producers and the industry.

Contact Information

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

    Jeff English
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada

    Rudy Husny
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
    Minister of International Trade

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