Expansion of Canadian Beef Trade Access to Japan Well-Timed

Jan 28, 2013, 10:51 ET from Canada Beef Inc.

Industry ready to take advantage of increased opportunities

TORONTO, Jan. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada Beef Inc. celebrated the announcement today by Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz that effective February 1, 2013, Japan will further amend its beef import requirements enabling Canadian beef from cattle under 30 months of age to be eligible for shipment to Japan.  This decision will greatly increase the amount of product eligible for export and could potentially double Canadian beef sales to Japan.

The Japanese market is highly valued to the Canadian beef and veal industry. During the past few years, Canadian beef shipments to Japan have ranged between 15,000 to 16,000 tonnes, valued between $70 to $75 million per year.  The expanded import requirements could see these values increase to $140 to $150 million per year.

"Canada's beef and veal industry is grateful for the continued hard work and dedication of Agriculture Minister Ritz, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, the Market Access Secretariat and the Canadian Cattlemen's Association for working to secure greater market access in Japan for Canadian beef and veal," said Rob Meijer, President of Canada Beef Inc.  "Japanese customers will soon enjoy increased availability of high quality Canadian beef, and Canada's cattle producers and beef industry will greatly benefit from increased trade with Japan."

Japan closed its market to Canadian beef after the discovery of a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in a Canadian-born cow in May 2003.  In December 2005, Japan reopened its market to Canadian beef from cattle under 21 months of age.

This limitation presented a significant challenge to Canada's ability to supply beef to Japan on a year-round basis as the majority of Canadian calves are born in the late winter and early spring, thus limiting the amount of beef from cattle that could qualify for export between December and April.  The amended import requirements will allow Canadian exporters to offer a steady supply of Canadian beef year-round providing Japanese trade partners the security of supply they need to make long term commitments to Canadian beef.

"Canada Beef Inc. is positioned to work with our trade partners to take advantage of the newly expanded market access.  We are committed to working with cattle producers, packers, and Canadian trade commissioners abroad to increase awareness of the Canadian beef brand, optimize the value for Canadian beef products, and continue to build strong relationships in Japan to ultimately increase demand for Canadian beef," added Meijer.

Canada Beef Inc. is the cattle producer-funded and run organization responsible for domestic and international beef and veal market development. It has offices in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and South Korea. Canada Beef Inc. works to increase awareness of the Canadian beef brand and build strong relationships with trade customers and partners.  These efforts increase demand for Canadian beef and value producers receive for their cattle.

SOURCE Canada Beef Inc.