Canada Welcomes Resumption of Cattle Exports to Colombia

Government continues to expand markets for Canadian industry

(No. 131 - April 9, 2010 - 2 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today welcomed Colombia’s announcement that it has reopened its market to allow the importation of Canadian cattle. This announcement follows Colombia’s recent decision to reopen its market to Canadian beef.

“This is great news for our cattle industry, as we continue to work to ensure full access to important markets across the Americas,” said Minister Van Loan. “Achieving access to an important agricultural market such as Colombia’s sends a strong signal to Canadian businesses and producers that this government is standing up for their interests.”

“Canada produces the best cattle in the world, so today’s breakthrough is great news for the industry and an important move toward securing new market opportunities for our producers,” said Minister Ritz. “This government will continue to work to secure opportunities in the global market for our producers because we understand that a strong agricultural sector means a strong economy for all Canadians.”

Effective immediately, Canadian exporters are eligible to export to Colombia all cattle born after August 1, 2007. Colombia will be the first country in South America to reopen its market to Canadian cattle since 2003.

“Improving access to international markets is extremely important for adding value to Canadian cattle,” said Travis Toews, President of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “We appreciate the tireless efforts of the Government of Canada to promote Canadian cattle and eliminate barriers.”

In January, Minister Ritz announced that Canada had successfully completed the process to reopen the Colombian market to Canadian beef. The Colombian market for Canadian beef exports is worth about $6 million, according to estimates by the Canada Beef Export Federation. The process began in the spring of 2009 when Minister Ritz travelled to Colombia and secured a process to demonstrate the safety of Canadian beef.

Minister Van Loan tabled legislation in March to implement the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. With the implementation of this agreement, key Canadian exports that will benefit from immediate duty-free access to Colombia include live cattle, wheat, barley, lentils, peas, selected beef cuts, as well as a variety of paper products, machinery and equipment.

Canada and Colombia enjoy a healthy trade relationship, with two-way merchandise trade totalling $1.3 billion in 2009.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
613-992-9304

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000