Peru re-opens to Canadian beef

Another of Canada’s free trade partners has re-opened its ports to several types of Canadian beef for the first time since 2003.

The governments of Peru and Canada have worked out "final details" on regulations that allow Canadian exporters to immediately resume shipping bone-in beef from cattle under 30 months of age (UTMs), boneless beef from cattle of all ages, and offal.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast said in a release Tuesday he was informed April 11 of Peru’s decision to resume Canadian beef imports, which was then formalized in a May 11 resolution.

Peru, which has had an active free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada since 2009, agreed in February to immediately accept imports of live Canadian beef and dairy cattle born after Aug. 1, 2007, and imports of cattle genetics.

Peruvian importers bought a total about C$49 million in beef and beef products in 2011, the government said. Export agency Canada Beef estimates access to Peru for Canadian beef producers will be worth up to $2 million a year.

The terms of Canada’s FTA with Peru also immediately eliminate Peru’s tariffs on Canadian beef offal and on "selected" Canadian boneless beef cuts, giving Canadian producers "a competitive advantage in this market," the federal government noted.

Peru was one of many countries to shut the door on Canadian beef and cattle after Canada confirmed its first domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an Alberta cow in 2003.

Canada has since been designated a "controlled risk" nation for BSE, which makes its exports of beef from cattle of all ages acceptable by the standards of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE).

"While Peru may hold modest potential, it is important to Canadian beef producers that all countries adhere" to OIE standards, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president Martin Unrau said Tuesday in a separate release.

The Canadian government said it will keep working with the beef industry and Peruvian officials to restore access for bone-in beef over 30 months of age, "the only remaining Canadian beef access issue" with Peru.

Canada’s list of customer nations that have either fully or partially re-established access for Canadian beef is now nearing 70, the CCA noted.

Related stories:
Peru re-opens ports to live Canadian cattle, Feb. 21, 2012
Canada wants in on Trans-Pacific trade pact, Nov. 14, 2011

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