Market Access Expansion

Access in South Korea

In 2014, Canada and the Republic of Korea entered a free trade agreement that eliminated the 40 per cent Korean tariff on fresh and frozen beef and the 18 per cent tariff on offals. However, the Canadian beef sector still experiences barriers to accessing processing capacity within North America due to differences between Canadian and US shipping requirements to South Korea. Unlike the US, Canada’s trade agreement with South Korea stops beef exports from Canada if another case of BSE is found in Canada. Thus, US processing plants that would otherwise increase demand for Canadian cattle become hesitant and may avoid purchasing Canadian cattle due to segregation requirements when shipping to the South Korean market. CCA continues to advocate for increased access to South Korea since the WOAH’s BSE negligible risk status for Canada.

Access in European Union

Beef producers and feedlot operators must meet specific production requirements for cattle used to produce beef for export to the European Union (EU). These components are part of the Canadian Program for Certifying Freedom from Growth Enhancing Products (GEPs) for Export of Beef to the EU. Beef from cattle produced under the program is currently being shipped to the EU. CCA continues to advocate for expanded market access opportunities to the UK under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) to reduce the growing trade deficit faced in this region.


The CCA continues to monitor the status of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (mCOOL) in the US. Past precedent achieved by the CCA remains a strong tool to ensure that COOL does not impede Canadian access to US beef markets.

On December 18, 2015, the US repealed mandatory mCOOL legislation for beef and pork. Earlier in 2015, in a historic and decisive victory for Canada’s cattle industry, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 18 issued a fourth and final ruling confirming that US mCOOL discriminates against US imports of Canadian cattle and hogs. The ruling effectively ended the eight-year legal battle initiated by the CCA in 2007 challenging the US labeling law for violating the US’s international trade obligations.

On December 7, 2015, the WTO Arbitration Panel released its decision on a retaliation amount of more than US$1 billion for Canada and Mexico combined. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Lawrence MacAulay and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland moved quickly to announce their intention to impose retaliatory tariffs, a permission granted to Canada by the WTO. The Mexican Government did likewise. The CCA was immediately in Washington D.C. to ensure that legislators there were fully aware of these developments and understanding that nothing short of repeal could avert the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports.

Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy

On May 27, 2021, Canada received negligible risk status for Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) under the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). This announcement placed Canada alongside the US at the lowest designation of risk for transmission of BSE. Requirements for this status include demonstration that the last born case of classical BSE was at least 11 years ago and that effective surveillance and control measures are in place. CCA collaborated with the Government of Canada to submit this application and ensure its success.

CCA will now focus on several remaining market access priorities in the wake of the BSE era:

Canada’s first case of BSE was reported on May 20, 2003 and caused international borders to close to Canadian beef exports. Losses due to BSE between 2003 and 2006 are estimated to total between C$4.9 and C$5.5 billion, without accounting for other indirect costs associated with processing requirements and limited market access.