Calgary, AB – Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) President Dan Darling is in Brussels, Belgium this week accompanying International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland as she promotes the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
The Minister’s mission provided an opportunity to highlight the need to resolve important technical issues for Canada’s beef exporters in order for the sector to realize the full potential of the deal’s trade benefits.
"The potential of the CETA is immense for Canadian beef producers,” said Darling, who runs a cow-calf and backgrounding operation in Ontario. “With the quota access provided by CETA, Canadian beef exports to Europe could grow to $600 million a year from today’s $10 million.”
Once implemented, CETA will remove a prohibitively high European tariff for nearly 65,000 tonnes of Canadian beef per year. However, CCA is concerned Canada’s ability to fill the beef export demand may be hindered by unresolved technical issues.
The most significant issue to be resolved is the fact that the EU has not yet approved all of the procedures used in Canadian beef production to ensure maximum food safety for consumers. For example, Canada reduces the potential presence of harmful bacteria in meat production by using anti-microbial carcass rinses that have been approved by Health Canada and utilized by Canadian processors for many years.
The most commonly used antimicrobial rinses are lactic acid, citric acid, and peroxyacetic acid (PAA)-based solutions diluted in water. Europe has recently approved lactic acid and recycled hot water. Review of the scientific data on the efficacy of citric acid and PAA by European authorities will follow, but as the signature of CETA approaches and the ratification process of Parliaments in Ottawa and Brussels may soon commence, the CCA greatly appreciates that Minister Freeland has stressed the importance of resolving such matters if genuine trade benefits are to result from the potential that CETA presents.
“On behalf of Canada’s beef producers, I want to thank Minister Freeland for raising this issue with her counterparts and underscoring the importance of getting these details sorted out and resolved,” said Darling.