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Mexico to reopen market to Canadian beef

Calgary Sun | 28 June 2016

Mexico to reopen market to Canadian beef

by Amanda Stephenson

The Canadian beef industry is applauding Mexico’s decision to fully reopen its market to Canadian beef, lifting restrictions on imports that have been in place since this country’s BSE crisis more than a decade ago.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Tuesday alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is in Ottawa for bilateral meetings and Wednesday’s North American leaders’ summit. He said the restriction on beef imports will be lifted on October 1, 2016.

Mexico closed its borders to Canadian beef in May 2003, when a domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in an Alberta cow. It was one of 40 countries to impose trade restrictions in the aftermath of that discovery.

While Mexico re-opened to beef from cattle under 30 months of age later that year, it has remained closed to beef from older animals and some offal for more than a decade — making it one of the last countries to still have trade restrictions in place as a result of Canada’s BSE scare.

Prior to BSE, Mexico was Canada’s second largest beef export market, valued at between $270 million and $290 million a year. Now, Mexico is Canada’s third largest beef market after the U.S. and Hong Kong. From 2011 to 2015, Canada averaged $136 million in annual beef exports to Mexico.

In a release, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president Dan Darling said Tuesday’s announcement will finally normalize the Canada-Mexico beef trade, and will help instill confidence in Canadian beef producers to grow their herds.

"Mexico has traditionally been an excellent market for Canadian beef," Darling said. "When our production increases to previous levels, I believe that Mexico could again import more than $250 million per year like it used to."

 source: Calgary Sun