Jamaica re-opens to Canadian beef

(Canada Beef Inc. photo)

Canadian beef producers have scored access to a long-closed market as Jamaica will again take Canadian product.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Trade Minister Ed Fast announced Monday that Jamaica has approved all imports of beef from Canada, effective immediately.

The country closed its ports to Canadian beef in 2003 after the discovery of Canada’s first domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an Alberta cow.

According to Canada Beef, the Jamaican market for Canadian beef, with full access, is estimated at about 1.5 million pounds a year, worth about $4.5 million.

Jamaica, the Canadian government noted Monday, is Canada’s second-largest market for ag exports within the Caribbean region after Cuba, and is Canada’s sixth-largest export market for merchandise generally among the Caribbean countries.

Ag exports from Canada to Jamaica in 2013 were valued at $54 million, led by milling wheat, frozen french fries, whey, pig fat and skim milk powder, the government said.

Jamaica and the other countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have been negotiating a free trade agreement with Canada since 2007.

The sixth round of negotiations on a trade deal was held in two parts in March and April in Kingston, Jamaica and in Ottawa, respectively.

Canadian trade officials have said a CARICOM trade pact would open opportunities for Canadian businesses in sectors including agriculture as well as seafood, manufacturing and financial services. — AGCanada.com Network



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