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Japan Lifts Last Restrictions on Canadian Beef, 16 Years After BSE

27 May 2019

CANADA - Japan has lifted its remaining trade restrictions on Canadian beef, 16 years after the discovery of a case of BSE in Alberta.

News that Japan — Canada’s third-largest agricultural trade partner — will begin accepting Canadian beef from cattle older than 30 months of age was announced earlier this week by federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr. The change represents the final Japanese market access barrier to fall since that country closed its borders to Canadian beef in 2003, following the confirmation of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Alberta.

Forty countries closed their borders to Canadian beef during the height of the 2003 BSE crisis, resulting in billions of dollars in losses for the industry. While most of those restrictions were lifted in the following months and years, some remained for the long-term. A new case of BSE discovered on a northern Alberta farm in 2015 resulted in additional temporary suspensions in a handful of markets.

Fawn Jackson, senior manager of government and foreign relations for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said restoring full market access for Canadian beef producers has been an ongoing effort requiring “a number of steps over a number of years.” She said the industry is hopeful Japan’s move will influence other countries — such as Taiwan and South Korea — that still have partial bans in place.

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Source: Calgary Herald

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