October 31, 2003



Canada Agriculture Minister Stress On Importance to Revive Cattle Trade Between Canada & US


Canada's Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lyle Vanclief yesterday stressed to key players in the U.S. meat business that Canadian beef is safe, and that reviving trade in live cattle is critical for industry on both sides of the border.


The Minister used an address to the American Meat Institute to highlight the fact that Canadian cattlemen and American meat packers are both facing serious issues as a result of the border closure. He also encouraged all concerned to work together to resolve the situation as rapidly as possible.


"Time is of the essence," said Mr. Vanclief. "Both the Canadian beef industry and all those U.S. slaughterhouses which depend on Canadian beef are suffering severe economic hardship. We are facing job losses in several key regions and we need to work hard with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to advance the rule-making process."


Trade has already resumed in select cuts of Canadian beef and the U.S. is working towards opening the border to live cattle. The Minister acknowledged the USDA for helping to ensure the regulatory process moves as quickly as possible on this issue.


It's hoped that the USDA will publish the proposed rule on reopening the border to live cattle under 30 months of age as soon as possible. This step in the U.S. system includes a comment period in which interested parties, like the American Meat Institute, can make submissions in support of the ruling or to outline concerns.


"Canadian beef is safe," the Minister told his audience in Chicago. "You know it, I know it, Canadian and American consumers know it, and our trading partners know it."


This confidence has helped create progress in a number of other markets for Canadian beef as well.


Mr. Vanclief assured the group that Canada's commitment to sound science is stronger than ever, stressing "we are taking the steps needed to make a safe system even safer and are looking at a number of areas including animal feed protocols, surveillance and traceability."


Canada is committed to doing everything possible to restore its cattle industry to the prosperity it enjoyed before May 19. The Minister emphasized in Chicago that an integrated North American cattle market has been the key to this success, both for

Canadians and Americans.


"We absolutely need to get back to an integrated market as quickly as possible," Mr. Vanclief said. "It needs to be restored so we can move forward together and capture the future growth we know is out there." 

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