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Canada and Saudi Arabia Reopen Beef Market

18 February 2009

RIYADH – Canadian beef exporters will have access to the lucrative Saudi Arabian market for the first time since 2003.

Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz made the announcement following a meeting with Saudi Arabian Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Bin Ahmed Zeinal Alireza in Riyadh.

"Step by step this Government is reopening markets to Canadian beef producers," said Minister Ritz.

"Canadian producers want to make their living in the marketplace and we’re leveling the playing field to give the industry the opportunities it needs to be stable and profitable."

Saudi Arabia was Canada’s sixth largest market for exports of beef prior to a BSE-related ban imposed in 2003.

The agreement reopens the Saudi Arabian market to Canadian boneless beef exports from animals under thirty months of age. Canada and Saudi Arabia agreed to continue extensive negotiations with the goal of fully reopening access for Canadian beef exports.

The Canada Beef Export Federation estimates that full market access to Saudi Arabia would allow Canadian beef exporters to re-establish previous export levels worth nearly C$6 million.

Minister Ritz was in Saudi Arabia as part of a Middle East mission to create and expand new marketing opportunities for Canadian producers. During his visit to Riyadh, Minister Ritz met key importers and Saudi government ministers. Minister Ritz and his counterpart Agriculture Minister H.E. Dr. Fahd Bin Abdulrahman Balghunaim directed officials to resolve market access issues.

The announcement follows an agreement that gives Canadian beef exporters full access to the Jordanian market. When visiting the country’s capital of Amman this week, Minister Ritz will thank the Jordanian Government for reopening its market to Canadian beef and reiterate Canada’s commitment to working with Jordan on the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement.

The Canada Beef Export Federation estimates that the value of Canadian beef exports to Jordan could rise to as much as $1 million annually.

Minister Ritz will also travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next week where he will attend the Gulfood Show in Dubai. Gulfood is the largest food industry exhibition in the Middle East where Canadian exporters connect with Middle East buyers. He will meet Canadian firms that are participating in the show, as well as UAE importers and Government officials.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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