Volume 6 Issue 11 • March 26, 2012

In This Issue ...

 

U.S. Government appeals World Trade Organization decision on COOL

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) is disappointed that the U. S. Government on Friday chose to prolong its discrimination against imported livestock by requesting that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body (AB) review the November 2011 Dispute Settlement Panel decision.

That decision supported Canada's position that provisions of mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) discriminate against live cattle and hogs imported into the U.S. from Canada to the detriment of Canadian cattle and hog producers.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz was equally disappointed with the U.S. appeal of the WTO Panel decision.

"The WTO decision recognized the integrated nature of the North American supply chain and marked a clear win for our industry, he stated. "We are confident that the decision will be upheld so trade can move more freely, benefiting producers and processors on both sides of the border."

The CCA will continue to support the Government of Canada legal team to ensure the strongest possible defence during the appeal. It is expected that written submissions will be made by both countries between now and mid-April. An oral hearing is expected to take place in late April or early May and a final AB decision would be made before the end of June. Click here to read our release.

 

CCA welcomes Japan-Canada Economic Partnership Agreement


CCA Past-President Travis Toews was in Tokyo with Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the announcement that Canada and Japan have agreed to initiate negotiations towards a general Japan-Canada Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The CCA congratulates Prime Minister Harper on launching these negotiations with Japan. "Japan is a highly valued trading partner and this agreement will strengthen our economic partnership," said Toews. "An EPA with Japan would benefit the highly export dependent Canadian beef industry provided the negotiations address long-outstanding issues and barriers."

The CCA strongly encourages a Japan-Canada EPA which provides full tariff free access for Canadian beef. Click here to read our release.

 

CCA testifies before Standing Committee on Trade to discuss Canada-Jordan FTA

Canfax Market Briefs

The CCA was invited by the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to testify about the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Ottawa staffer John Masswohl appeared before the Committee on March 15, where he reconfirmed the CCA's support for the Canada-Jordan FTA.

Under the terms of the Canada-Jordan FTA, Jordan will immediately eliminate its current five per cent tariff on beef cuts, 10 per cent tariff on genetics and 21-28 per cent tariffs on prepared beef products such as sausages and cured meats. There are no exclusions or quota limits in this agreement.

While Jordan is not a significant market for Canadian beef, the agreement is important as it will enable Canada to regain equivalent terms of access that the U.S. beef industry has had since 2001. As Canadian beef exporters direct their primary efforts in the Middle East to markets like Saudi Arabia, it is beneficial to have this access to neighbouring Jordan and other markets.

The CCA also attaches significant importance to all countries removing any lingering BSE restrictions on Canadian beef. Jordan has done this and we hope other markets in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, will follow Jordan's lead.

Given the Korea-U.S. FTA came into effect the same day, Masswohl seized the opportunity to remind the Committee that Canadian beef is now at a tariff disadvantage to U.S. beef in Korea. "This is a serious concern to the Canadian beef sector. We strongly encourage Canada to complete its negotiations with Korea and restore our tariff parity in that market as soon as possible," he said.

 

Increase in duty free quota for Canada latest step in improved access with EU

On March 14, the European Parliament approved an increase in imports of Canadian and U.S. beef, the next scheduled step of an improved access agreement reached with the European Union (EU) in 2010.

The initial improved access came in the form of a 20,000 tonne duty free quota negotiated by the U. S. but available to all qualifying countries with further increases to the quantity to follow. The second step was to add 1,500 tonnes negotiated by Canada to bring the total quota to 21,500. This latest step adds a further 25,000 tonnes negotiated by the U.S. and 1,700 tonnes negotiated by Canada, bringing the total quota to 48,200 tonnes.

The EU Commission has some procedural work to complete in order to operationalize the increase. The CCA anticipates the required work will be completed in time for the start of the new quota year on August 1, 2012.

It remains a condition of access to the EU that beef must be produced from cattle raised without the use of growth promotants. Eligible cattle must be fed a specific grain-based diet and meet a certain quality standard for the beef.  The U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay have all been approved by the EU to access the quota. However, the U.S. and Canada produce the most significant quantities of high quality grain fed beef.

Despite the welcome news regarding the quota increase, CCA continues to have serious concerns regarding the method utilized by the EU Commission to administer the quota. The practices in question have already caused one Canadian company to cease its beef operations. Even a 48,200 tonne quota is a fraction of EU beef import potential and the CCA believes that true access is likely to come only through a Canada-EU free trade agreement.

 

National beef cattle research strategy begins to take shape


The national Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) and the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) convened a first of its kind workshop to bring together representatives from Canada's seedstock, cow-calf, forage, feeding, animal health, and processors, along with scientists and research funders to establish future research outcomes for Canada's beef industry.

The workshop began with a plenary session that reviewed the current state of Canada's beef industry, current research priorities for Canada's main beef research funders, and the distribution of research funding in Canada over the past five years.

A recent BCRC survey of 25 federal, provincial and industry beef research funders showed that the majority of research funding between 2007 and 2011 went into prion research (24 per cent). Beef quality, animal health, and feed grains and feed efficiency each received between 16 and 21 per cent. Forage and grassland received 13 per cent and food safety research received seven per cent of total funds.

Workshop participants were divided into breakout groups: Beef Quality and Food Safety; Animal Health and Welfare; Feed Grains and Feed Efficiency; and Forage and Grassland Productivity. Each group discussed the threats and opportunities for the industry which could be resolved through research, as well as research that could result in a competitive advantage for the Canadian beef industry, with a focus on identifying key research outcomes to focus on over the next five years.

Representatives of beef research funders from government (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives, Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency) and industry (BCRC and provincial and national affiliate cattle associations), also examined the value of coordinating their activities and funding to a greater extent. Funders recognized the need to increase the level of communication and cooperation in order to maximize the value of research dollars (while maintaining regional flexibility) and unanimously agreed to support the BCRC in developing a national research strategy aimed at achieving target industry outcomes.

Input provided by the key industry stakeholders at the workshop, in addition to ongoing consultation, will be foundational to developing a national beef research strategy focused on defining national short-, medium-, and long-term research outcomes to meet industry needs. A national strategy will also facilitate alignment and coordination across government and industry research funders to ensure that research funding allocations adequately address industry research priorities, as well as create a framework to allow extension activities to be as comprehensive and effective as possible.

The workshop has been a first critical step but much work lies ahead. BCRC staff is analyzing the discussion captured and will begin to draft a national beef cattle research strategy in partnership with a working group of key stakeholders across Canada.

 
CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Reynold Bergen
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Matthew French


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