July 3, 2009 (12:10 p.m. EDT)
No. 187

Ministers Day and Ritz Pleased with Russia’s Decision to Lift Import Bans on Canadian Meat Products

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced that Russia has agreed to lift restrictions on imports of meat products from Quebec and Ontario.

“I received a letter from the Russian Embassy informing me that the bans on pork and pork products originating from Quebec and on other meat products from Ontario are essentially lifted by the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, citing close Canadian-Russian interaction as the reason for this decision,” said Minister Day. “I very much appreciate the responsiveness of the Russian ministers to my request that the ban be lifted.”

The Government of Canada is pleased that, effective June 30, Russia has lifted H1N1-related restrictions on pork and pork products from Quebec produced before June 2 and after June 30. Russia also lifted restrictions against some Ontario products, including beef and poultry.

“Our government is working with key trading partners such as Russia to create opportunities that will make a difference to the bottom line for Canadian producers,” said Minister Ritz. “The decision by Russia is a significant breakthrough for Canadian pork exporters. Our government will continue to fight for full access and fair treatment for Canadian pork producers on the world stage.”

Several countries have lifted import bans on Canadian products after representations by the ministers and Canadian officials. However, some countries still impose restrictions on Canadian pork and swine, without scientifically justifiable evidence to support their actions.

In 2008, total Canadian pork exports were valued at $2.7 billion, including nearly $527-million worth of Canadian live swine exports. Canada’s exports to Russia grew by 30 percent in 2008 and Russia was Canada’s 18th-largest merchandise export market.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-6186

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
www.internationaltrade.gc.ca

Meagan Murdoch
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board
613-759-1059

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
613-759-7972
1-866-345-7972