Calgary, AB – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met in Ottawa with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and announced that China will begin to allow bone-in Canadian beef from cattle under 30 months of age (UTM) effective straight away.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is pleased that this important trading partner has recognized the rigour of Canada’s bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) control measures and has taken this step to move forward in normalizing import conditions for Canadian beef.
CCA President Dan Darling called the news a significant result for the Canadian beef sector. “On behalf of Canada’s 68,500 beef farms and feedlots, I want to thank Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Prime Minister Trudeau for their work to achieve this important threshold in the staged access process we are engaged in with China,” he said.
China closed to Canadian beef in May 2003 when Canada discovered its first domestic case of BSE. During former Premier Hu’s visit to Canada in 2010, he announced that China would fully re-open to Canadian beef in stages. The first stage was boneless beef from UTM cattle. In 2013, China approved additional Canadian beef export facilities to increase our capacity to serve Chinese beef importers. In June 2014, China announced it would begin to consider the importation of bone-in UTM beef products. The recent announcement represents the successful conclusion of that step.
As Canadian beef access to China has expanded, so has Canada’s export performance. In 2012, Canada exported $4.7 million. This grew to $27.5 million in 2013 and $40.1 million in 2014. In 2015 China stepped in as a major buyer while Canadian beef was temporarily shut out of Korea and Taiwan and the Canadian dollar was weak, purchasing $256 million that year. Through July 2016, Canadian beef sales to China have returned to being comparable with the first seven months of 2014.
The addition of bone-in UTM access is expected to add an additional $10 million per year in exports to China in the short term while the Canadian beef cattle herd remains contracted.
This news from China on top of recent expansion of access to Mexico and Taiwan is very positive for increasing opportunities for Canadian beef producers, noted Darling. “If we can also get the Trans-Pacific Partnership implemented and viable access to Europe, the long term potential should send the right signal for beef producers to increase their herds. We can produce more beef with confidence if we know markets will be open to purchase it.”