International Issues

Codex MRL for ractopamine
The CCA will continue its efforts to get countries to recognize the United Nations' food standards body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, ruling to adopt a set of maximum residue limits (MRL) for the cattle and hog feed ingredient ractopamine. This important development removed any justification for a non-scientific trade irritant. The safety of ractopamine has been scientifically demonstrated; 28 regulatory authorities globally have affirmed the human food safety of meat from animals fed ractopamine. Since its introduction in 1999, there have been no adverse human health reports related to the consumption of meat products from animals fed ractopamine.  

OIE guidelines for trade
In mid-2013, the CCA renewed a resolution from 2008 to direct the Government of Canada to ensure that the basis for any further market openings be in conformity with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standard. In other words, the objective must be to achieve access for all live cattle and all beef from cattle of all ages. For markets that are already partially open, the government should seek to achieve full access based on such OIE standard. The CCA supports partial market openings in circumstances where the U.S. has already obtained or will obtain a partial opening and Canada has an opportunity to regain parity with the U.S. in that market, or the government of an importing country agrees to a commercially meaningful partial opening as a step towards full OIE compliance.

Pursuing Japan and full tariff free access for Canadian beef
Japan remains a subject of interest in terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and also the Japan-Canada Economic Partnership Agreement. The CCA strongly encourages a Japan-Canada EPA which provides full tariff free access for Canadian beef.  In February 2013, Japan expanded its market access to accept Canadian beef from under-30-month (UTM) cattle. This development is most welcome by the CCA, which persisted in its long-held view that expanded access should be for UTM cattle.

Canada-Korea FTA
On March 10, 2014 then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada and the Republic of Korea have reached a free trade agreement (FTA). Under the terms of the agreement, the 40 per cent Korean tariff on fresh and frozen beef will be fully eliminated in 15 equal annual steps and the 18 per cent tariff on offals will be fully eliminated in 11 equal annual steps. The text of the final agreement of the Canada-Korea FTA was tabled in the House of Commons by International Trade Minister Ed Fast in June 2014.

The tariff has been the main impediment to accessing the Korean market since Korea lifted its BSE prohibition on Canada in early 2012. For the past few years, Canada’s key beef competitor, the U.S. has enjoyed an increasing tariff advantage flowing from its FTA with South Korea. The Canada-Korea FTA means Canadian beef will be able to once again compete for meaningful access in the Korean market.

The impact of the tariff disadvantage is clear. In 2002, Korea was a $40 million market for Canadian beef and its fourth largest export destination. In 2013, with a growing tariff disadvantage relative to U.S. beef, Canada exported $7.8 million. The Canada-Korea FTA will signal to Korean buyers that they can resume their relationship with Canadian beef and maintain a long-term competitive position.

Negotiations for a Canada-Korea FTA began in 2005, but were on hold from 2008 until 2012. Intensive negotiations in the fall of 2012 produced a path forward that enabled the Canadian beef sector to retain access to Korea, but final negotiations for overall agreement stalled when the Korean Government changed in early 2013. In November 2013, Canadian negotiators were in Seoul, South Korea for the first full negotiating round for a Canada-Korea FTA in over a year.