Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto met today in Ottawa with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and announced that Mexico will fully re-open to Canadian beef effective October 1, 2016.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) President Dan Darling, in Ottawa for President Peña’s announcement, said the October 1 effective date is particularly important in terms of timing as it provides producers with an expanded export opportunity for over-30-month (OTM) beef. “The months of October and November are traditionally the time of year when Canadian beef farmers send most of their mature breeding cows to market,” Darling said. “Mexico has traditionally been an excellent market for Canadian beef. In addition to expanded access for OTM beef, we look forward to potential future opportunities that today’s announcement of fully restored access for Canada for all beef and beef products, regardless of the age of the cattle, will bring.”
Mexico closed to Canadian beef in May 2003 when Canada discovered its first domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Mexico re-opened to beef from cattle under-30-months (UTM) of age later that year, but remained closed to beef from OTM cattle and some UTM offal.
Normalized access with Mexico marks the removal of one of the few remaining BSE trade restrictions in the world and that will help instill confidence in Canadian beef producers to grow their herds, Darling said. “When our production increases to previous levels, I believe that Mexico could again import more than $250 million per year like it used to.”
Prior to BSE, Canada was exporting between $270 million to $290 million of beef per year to Mexico, of which approximately 20 to 25 per cent was OTM.
Mexico has been Canada’s third largest export market the past three years. From 2011 to 2015, Canada averaged $136 million in annual beef exports to Mexico.
Today’s announcement is the final step in normalizing the Canada-Mexico beef trade as Canada had approved Mexico to export beef to Canada two years ago, Darling noted.
“I want to thank Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Prime Minister Trudeau for their work to achieve today’s significant result for the Canadian beef sector,” he said.