Canadian beef exports increased in 2021.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president Dennis Laycraft says beef exports have grown 25 percent in volume and 28 percent in value.
The United States is our largest market, followed by Japan and Mexico, followed by China and South Korea.
South Korea recently suspended its quarantine inspections of Canadian beef as it seeks more information on this atypical case of BSE discovered last month in central Alberta.
He says we have a single veterinary certificate with Korea which we are recommending to amend now that we have achieved negligible risk status.
“It came as a result of a negotiation that followed us bringing them to the WTO.”
Laycraft says more information has been sent to South Korea, clarifying that this was an atypical case.
“This information has now been passed to the Food Safety Authority in South Korea. Our government will follow up with them and I hope this issue should be resolved very, very quickly. But, you know, we will be watching it very closely. know we are reaching out literally every day for an update on where it is at. “
Laycraft says they expect South Korea to be a very important market for Canadian beef in the long run.
He notes that the fact that the atypical case has been found shows that our surveillance system is working.
“To maintain the negligible risk status, you have to maintain adequate surveillance, and if countries around the world do adequate surveillance, it’s almost inevitable. Almost anywhere in the world, you will eventually find an atypical case study occurring spontaneously. The OIE states very specifically that it is different when you find an atypical case, it does not affect your status at all. And really, countries shouldn’t have any restrictions or suspensions, but we still live with some previous rules where a few suspensions usually for very short periods of time. “
Although South Korea is an important market, our biggest trading partner is the United States and it is important to keep a close eye on what is happening in the South.
There have been discussions around M-COOL (mandatory labeling country).
“We have seen some very strong statements, including last week from the agriculture secretary, that whatever they are going to do will be WTO compliant,” Laycraft said. “Of course we won the WTO lawsuit, we still have the right to retaliate if they reinstated mandatory country-of-origin labeling in a way that discriminates against our exports of live cattle and At this point, we still continue to hear very clearly from the administration that whatever they do, they will be WTO compliant. So this is one of those things that will lift the head every now and then, but we work with our allies to try to stay on top of this one and lead it with every pass. “
Something that has happened this week is that the United States has announced new rules regarding a significant lack of competition in the meat sector.
The move was based on a recent White House analysis which found that the four major meat packers (Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National Beef Packing) control between 55% and 85% of the market in the livestock, pork and chicken.
He says the first part is trying to encourage more small and medium-scale processing across the United States. Then there’s a much stronger enforcement engagement to look at whether there are any practices that could fall under their packers and that stockyards are acting as essentially anti-competitive.
“I think we’re just going to have to wait and see how it actually evolves. I mean, encouraging more factory capacity is always a good thing. You know, I think the other side of what we’re hearing in the south of the border is that manpower is still a big problem there, and that has been a challenge. So it’s quite difficult to increase the existing capacity when you run out of workers. So I don’t think that ‘ There is a silver bullet or solution to this problem, but anything that increases competition in the United States is also good for Canada. “
He notes that we are actually more focused. We only have two of the big four factories in Canada, but since we have the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, we still have the other factories that regularly bid for
our cattle when they are for sale.
According to Laycraft, this is more of an integrated North American market and we are not going to see our market operate independently of the United States.
“We continue to look for what we can do to make our processing industry at all scales more competitive here. Resolve any cross-border issues that affect our ability to move livestock south. We are looking at how to create the best competitive conditions in our industry, and that also includes in the processing industry. So we’re following this very closely and seeing what we can get out of it. “
He says on the positive side, we continue to see remarkable demand for our product.