September 10, 2003



Russia Eases Ban on Canadian Beef Imports

Russia has joined the U.S. and Mexico in officially announcing it will allow a partial resumption of beef imports from Canada, according to a release from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Lyle Vanclief and Canadian International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew said in a joint statement that Russia's decision continues progress toward fully normalized international trade in Canadian beef.


"Russia's decision is important, and we are extremely pleased that they have recognized the safety and integrity of the Canadian inspection system by lifting restrictions on Canadian boneless beef," said Vanclief. "We expect this decision will bolster our already steadily recovering beef industry and will give our producers more confidence that we will soon put this behind us."


The decision means boneless beef produced from Canadian cattle will be allowed into the Russian market. Beef from animals under 30 months of age will have to be accompanied by certification that the product originated from farms that have not experienced bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease. Beef from animals over 30 months of age will need certification that the animals have been tested negative for BSE.


Russia has also required that all exporting establishments be pre-approved by Russian veterinary authorities. The inspections are aimed at assuring Russian officials that beef-cutting plants meet the enhanced export criteria. The inspection process could be under way within a month, with an aim to have Canadian beef flowing to the Russian market as soon as possible afterward.


In 2002, Canada exported about 5,000 metric tons of beef products, mostly beef livers, to Russia at a value of C$4 million. Russia is a considerable importer of beef and beef products and represents a major export growth opportunity for Canadian beef producers.
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