September 16, 2009 (4:45 p.m. EDT)
No. 258

Minister Day Welcomes Reopening of Colombian Market to Canadian Beef

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today welcomed Colombia’s announcement that it will allow the importation of Canadian beef from animals of all ages.

“Our government has raised the beef importation issue repeatedly with Colombia,” said Minister Day. “Today’s announcement demonstrates that our efforts have paid off. Colombia’s decision will open doors to Canadian beef exports. This is great news for Canadian beef producers.”

Colombia will be the first market in South America to reopen to Canadian beef since 2003.

Like Minister Day, the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, has also been seeking access to the Colombian market for Canadian beef through meetings with their ministerial counterparts and through other forums.

“Producers know that this government is standing up for them on the world stage so that they can sell more beef in more markets,” said Minister Ritz. “I was in Colombia last May to promote our safe, high-quality products, and it is good to see that the mission contributed to a successful outcome for Canadian beef producers.”

Exports will resume once valid certificates are agreed to with the Colombian government. In addition, the Government of Canada will continue to work with Colombia to ensure resumption in trade in cattle.

Canada and Colombia recently signed a free trade agreement (FTA). Once implemented, the FTA will provide duty-free access for a wide range of Canadian goods and services. Implementing legislation was introduced in the House of Commons in March 2009 and is currently being reviewed by members of Parliament.

Once implemented, the FTA will provide greater market access for Canadian exporters of products such as wheat, pulses, barley, paper products and heavy equipment. It will also provide greater stability and protection for Canadian businesses involved in oil and gas, mining, manufacturing and financial services. In addition, it will stimulate the growth of commercial relationships between the two countries and help level the playing field for Canadian businesses, whose competitors may be benefiting from preferential access to the Colombian market.

In 2008, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Colombia totalled more than $1.3 billion.

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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

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