Canadian beef promotion body Beef Canada has welcomed the news that negotiations for a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Japan are under way.
The organisation’s president, Rob Meijer, said: “[This] announcement is great news for Canada’s beef and veal industry. We’re hopeful this will ultimately lead to Japan allowing full market access to Canadian beef. This would mean a significant increase in the premium value and volume of exports.”
Beef Canada estimates that full market access could mean an increase in beef export value to Japan, from C$81.4m in 2010 to C$125m, or over 20,000 tonnes.
Chairman Brad Wildeman added: “We are extremely pleased by the announcement made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. Japanese customers will benefit from expanded access to Canada’s safe, high-quality beef and Canada’s cattle producers and our beef industry will greatly benefit from increased trade with Japan.”
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the beginning of the FTA negotiations during his visit to Japan last week. He said: “Our government is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians through increased trade. A free-trade agreement with Japan — a powerful G8 economy and respected Asia-Pacific partner — would strengthen the Canadian economy by generating billions of additional dollars in commercial flows between our two countries.”
The FTA could represent gains of up to C$3.8bn in gross domestic product (GDP) with a predicted 67% increase in all commercial exports to Japan.
Japan banned imports of Canadian beef in 2003, following the detection of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). In December 2005, it relaxed the ban, allowing beef and offal products from cattle under 21 months of age. In December 2011, Japan announced it was reviewing its beef regulations, raising the hope of enhanced trade between the two countries.