March 5, 2004
Canada, Mexico To Discuss Resuming Live Cattle Trade
Canada are keen to resume the live cattle trade with Mexico following the latter lifting its ban on US beef. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk will make bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, and live-cattle exports leading issues during next week's agri-trade mission to key areas of Mexico.
BSE was discovered in an Alberta cow last May and in a U.S. cow, in Washington state, in December.
Mexico's Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday it has ended a ban on some U.S. beef. Mexico maintains a ban on live U.S. cattle. The U.S. border remains closed to live Canadian cattle.
"Based on science, there is no reason why borders should remain closed to live Canadian cattle," Wowchuk said. "I brought this message to Washington in February, and I'm bringing the same message to Mexico next week. We need to develop North American solutions that go beyond reactive measures like closing borders. Manitoba and Canadian beef is safe, and there is no reason for borders to be closed."
The trade mission will also involve discussions with senior Mexican government agriculture officials about increasing pulse-crop trade and developing a Manitoba-Mexico partnership to create new food products utilizing Manitoban and Mexican raw materials.
It will also include the Tri-National Agricultural Accord meetings, which are a long-standing commitment among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to work together on agricultural trade and development issues.
Wowchuk also will discuss with her Mexican and American counterparts issues related to feed standards, pesticide harmonization, the North American licensing of genetically modified wheat, bioterrorism and country of origin labeling.
Manitoba's total agriculture and agri-food exports to the U.S. and Mexico were more than $1.7 billion in 2002.