Colombia re-opening border to Canadian beef



    CALGARY, May 22 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA)
welcomed news that Colombia will open their borders to Canadian beef - the
first South American market to restore access to Canadian beef since the
border closed due to BSE in 2003. The agreement re-opens the market for a wide
range of Canadian beef and value-added beef products, initially yielding
annual export levels of nearly $6 million in beef and $1 million in livestock
and genetics.
    CCA President Brad Wildeman said that, "It's good news for our industry
knowing that Minister Ritz has placed the negotiation of foreign market access
high on his list of priorities. The federal government continues to build
great momentum with opening foreign markets to Canadian beef. We all know that
when trading partners see the emphasis that our federal government places on
these negotiations, this delivers an important sign of the value Canada
attaches to resumption of trade with their country and the commitment we make
to exporting only safe, wholesome beef. Once again, Minister Ritz's
negotiating efforts paid off and sends a strong message to the world that
commercially-meaningful access should be restored to Canada based on OIE's
scientific guidelines. We encourage him to continue his efforts."
    Now that the BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) trade restrictions
will be lifted Canadian beef will be positioned to capitalize on the improved
market access of the new Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) when it
comes into effect. The new agreement eliminates the 80 per cent tariff on
Canadian beef over a 12-year period, however until the tariff is completely
eliminated, Colombia will immediately allow duty-free imports of up to 5,250
tonnes of Canadian beef and offals. With the FTA in place, Canadian beef
exports to Colombia could climb to more than triple, exceeding $20 million
annually.
    CCA representatives joined the Andean trade mission to provide the
industry and technical expertise required to move the negotiations forward on
a science-based footing, which improved access to the Colombian market.
Wildeman added that the Colombian agreement establishes a significant in-road
for trade negotiations based on the scientific guidelines issued by the World
Animal Health Organization (OIE) guidelines. "Achieving full OIE access in
foreign markets is our ultimate goal. Although with some markets it will take
a more graduated approach to achieve full access, this agreement demonstrates
that global demand continues to grow for high-quality, safe Canadian beef."
    In May 2007, the OIE officially categorized Canada as a "controlled risk
status" country for BSE. Canadian beef gained this official status due to
Canada's effective BSE surveillance, mitigation and eradication measures. The
categorization allows for the safe trade in all beef and cattle under certain
conditions, which Canada meets.
    The agreement further illustrates the effectiveness of key market access
recommendations from a comprehensive market access strategy developed by the
CCA and its industry partners. Please visit our website at www.cattle.ca for
more information on the Columbian trade agreement, other major trade
initiatives, plus the export-market access strategy laid out in the "Enhanced
Market Access Recommendations", recently undertaken by Canada's beef cattle
industry and the Government of Canada.

    
       The National Voice for Canada's Beef Cattle Industry, representing
                           90,000 Cattle Producers
                          Visit us at www.cattle.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Sharon Jensen, Communications Manager, Canadian
Cattlemen's Association, (403) 275-8558, ext. 406, or jensens@cattle.ca

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CANADIAN CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION

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