Peru re-opens ports to live Canadian cattle

Certification is "immediately" available for exports of live beef and dairy cattle and genetics from Canada to free trade partner Peru.

The federal government announced Tuesday that negotiations on a health certificate for exports of cattle born after Aug. 1, 2007 have reached a "successful conclusion," allowing exports to resume immediately.

Peru, which has had a free trade agreement with Canada since 2009, becomes the seventh market in Latin America and the Caribbean to re-open to Canadian cattle, following Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Barbados, Bermuda and Trinidad and Tobago, the government noted.

Canada Beef and the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association estimate the market to be valued at more than $2.5 million in 2012 for the Canadian cattle sector, the government said. The bulk of expected sales this year are expected to be in dairy genetics.

"Peru has imported a number of purebred beef cattle breeds from Canada as breeding stock and we are most appreciative to (federal) ministers for once again gaining trade access to this market," Brett Campbell, executive vice-president of the Canadian Beef Breeds Council, said in the government’s release.

Peru shut its ports of entry to Canadian beef and cattle after the discovery of Canada’s first domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 2003.

The government described Tuesday’s announcement as "an important step that sets the stage for greater market access for Canada’s cattle producers, as well as for beef producers, as efforts continue to restore full beef access to Peru."

Beef and veal exports to Peru totalled 2.68 million kilograms valued at $2.28 million in 2002 and tailed off to zero by 2005, according to Statistics Canada.

Since Canada and Peru’s free trade deal came into force, the two countries’ trade across other sectors has increased by almost 50 per cent, International Trade Minister Ed Fast said Tuesday, calling the approval for cattle "yet another sign of the growing ties between Canada and Peru that contribute to deepened prosperity for people in both our countries."

The Canadian government on Tuesday described Peru as one of the few Latin American countries to have sustained positive economic growth rates following the 2008 recession, with a growth rate projected at about six per cent for 2012.

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