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Colombia to reopen to Canadian beef

Manitoba Co-operator, Canada

Colombia to reopen to Canadian beef

By Staff

17 September 2009

Colombia will be the first market in South America to reopen to Canadian beef since 2003, the Canadian government announced Wednesday.

Exports of Canadian beef from animals of all ages will resume once valid certificates are agreed to with the Colombian government, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said.

Ottawa will also continue to work with Colombia to "ensure resumption in trade in cattle."

Colombia’s decision follows an announcement by Ritz in May that its government had agreed to a path that would enable the market to be completely reopened to Canadian beef.

"I am confident that we can meet and exceed Columbia’s high quality and safety standards to reopen that market to our beef and livestock this summer," Ritz said at the time.

Colombia was one of many countries to shut its ports of entry to Canadian beef and cattle after the discovery of Canada’s first domestic case of BSE (bovine spongiform encephaopathy) in an Alberta cow in 2003.

Canada and Colombia last fall signed a free trade agreement (FTA) which, while not directly related to Colombia’s decision this week, is expected to provide duty-free access for a "wide range of Canadian goods and services."

Canadian exports to Colombia that would benefit from an FTA’s implementation include wheat, pulses, barley, paper products and heavy equipment.

Implementing legislation for the FTA with Colombia was introduced in the House of Commons in March and is now under review by members of Parliament, the government said Wednesday.