Canada to reopen European beef trade route

By Chloe Ryan

- Last updated on GMT

The Canadian government is to reopen EU beef channels after almost two decades
The Canadian government is to reopen EU beef channels after almost two decades
Canadians will be able to buy beef from 19 European countries for the first time since 1996, after the Canadian government decided to reopen the trade route which was closed following the outbreak of BSE two decades ago. 

The decision will “provide a welcome boost to Europe’s beef producers and exporters, particularly as it comes at a time when farmers across the EU are going through a particularly difficult period,”​ said EU health and food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström and agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan in a joint statement.

“By re-authorising 19 member states at once, Canada recognises that the EU functions as a single entity with uniform and harmonised rules and standards, where enforcement is overseen by the European Commission. This is an important development and will further improve the trade relations with Canada,”​ the commissioners added.

Work is ongoing between the Commission - in close cooperation with the EU Member States - and the Canadian authorities to re-establish meat trade from the EU Member States that do not have access to the Canadian market yet.

“This move also forms part of a growing trend to recognise the robust, comprehensive and successful measures put in place by the EU to eradicate BSE,”​ said the commissioners. “We call on our few remaining international trading partners who still maintain restrictive measures, to fully adopt recognised international standards.”

The Canadian market has been closed to any EU beef, including deboned beef, since 1996, when Canada introduced import restrictions on meat of ruminants on the basis of BSE concerns. The 19 member states that have now been authorised to resume exports are the same that had access to the Canadian market before the BSE ban came into force: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Before the announcement was made, Canada conducted thorough assessments of the EU meat inspection system including an audit of four EU member states. The commissioners said the news was an important boost for trade negotiations with other countries outside the EU.

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