Good news for European beef producers who can resume exports to Canada which has reopened its market to beef from the European Union, 19 years after it blocked all imports because of mad cow disease. According to a press release from the European Commission in Brussels, Canada has reauthorized the importation of beef from 19 member states. The commission said it is working with member states to resume exports of beef and re-establish ties to the Canadian market. The Commission said that,”By re-authorising 19 member states at once, Canada recognises that the EU functions as a single entity with uniformed and harmonised rules and standards, where enforcement is overseen by the European Commission”. It will provide a welcome boost to Europe’s beef producers and exporters, particularly as it comes at a time when farmers across the EU are going through a particularly difficult period.
The Canadian market has been closed to any EU beef, including deboned beef, since 1996, when Canada introduced import restrictions on meat of ruminants on the basis of BSE concerns. EU beef producers have had reduced opportunities this year because of the closure of the Russian markets to their products. As well as blocking the exportation of meat from Portugal and the United Kingdom, two of the countries most affected by BSE, the EU brought in legislation in 2000 to create a testing system and enforced laws against allowing sick animals into the food system. “This market opening also sends an important signal to the EU’s trading partners worldwide that EU beef is safe, and that imports of EU beef should be swiftly resumed,” the commission said in a press release. Beef from the EU has been banned since 1996 because of BSE, which can affect the health of humans.
Canadian beef has been banned from EU markets because of use of hormones in raising cattle in Canada, but a deal was reached on the issue during free trade talks. The 19 member states that have now been authorized to resume exports are the markets that had had access to the Canadian market before the BSE ban came into force: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.