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Update on Suspensions of Canadian Beef Imports

As reported in recent editions of the Export Newsline, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed a BSE case in Alberta earlier this month and the case was later confirmed as C-type (classical) by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

South Korea was the first trading partner to suspend imports of Canadian beef as a result of the BSE case. This was not surprising, as a suspension in response to a new BSE case was authorized in the recently implemented Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Suspensions have also been announced by Peru, Taiwan, Belarus and China.

Canada exported 3,199 metric tons (mt) of beef/beef variety meat to Korea last year (about 1 percent of its total export volume), valued at $23.1 million. Korea already requires that when U.S. beef is derived from cattle of Canadian origin, those cattle must be in the United States for 100 days prior to slaughter. At this time, USMEF does not anticipate any change in this requirement as a result of the BSE case.

Peru announced a 180-day suspension on imports of Canadian beef, which is consistent with the Peruvian government’s response to the two BSE cases detected in Brazil. Exporters should note that U.S. beef and beef products derived from cattle imported from Canada for immediate slaughter was already ineligible for Peru, even before this case was announced.

In 2014, Peru was Canada’s eighth-largest beef export market in terms of volume (2,437 mt) and 10th-largest in value ($4.19 million). Canada was Peru’s sixth-largest beef supplier, behind the U.S., Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay.

Taiwan has also suspended imports of Canadian beef. USMEF-Taiwan reports that guidance has not been issued on whether Canadian beef products already in the market can be made available to end users. But based on past experience, there is a chance that some retail and foodservice operators may voluntarily suspend sales of Canadian beef to avoid negative media coverage.

Canada reported 2014 beef exports to Taiwan of 1,661 mt valued at $11 million, making it Canada’s 10th-largest volume market and seventh-largest in value. Taiwan’s imports of Canadian beef in 2014 were 55 percent frozen and 45 percent chilled. Canada was Taiwan’s sixth-largest supplier, accounting for less than 2 percent of total import volume and 4 percent of chilled volume.

On Feb. 27, CFIA announced that China has imposed “temporary restrictions on beef and beef products,” but no further details were available at press time. China was Canada’s fifth-largest export market in 2014 – 6,831 mt valued at $36.4 million.

Belarus has also suspended imports of Canadian beef, but Canada reported no beef exports to Belarus last year. Some news reports have indicated that Indonesia also suspended imports of Canadian beef. But according to CFIA, Indonesia has only imposed temporary import restrictions on nonedible byproducts for non-ruminant consumption.

Market access changes and other developments related to the BSE case can be followed at this CFIA webpage, and USMEF will report further details as more information becomes available. If you have questions, please email Cheyenne Dixon or call 303-623-6328.