The first case of mad cow disease, or BSE, hit Canada in 2003. That led to the virtual shut down of beef sales overseas. Well, on Tuesday Mexico has lifted the last restrictions on Canadian beef imports.
John Masswohl with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association explains the limitations that Mexico had over beef imports from Canada.
“Mexico was one of the first countries to re-open to beef from cattle under 30 months, but about a quarter of our trade was cattle over 30 months, and that’s 13 years later now we’ve been working on trying to get that over 30 month trade and they have now removed the restrictions to that finally as well.”
Masswohl says it will take a little while for trade volumes to increase. The depression in the price of beef following the BSE announcement had led to a thinning of domestic herd sizes. With the Mexican market now open, domestic cattle ranchers will start to increase herd sizes. He says once herd sizes start to approach the volumes seen in 2003, we could see 250 million dollars in trade to Mexico annually.
Masswohl says he hopes that the easing of Mexican restrictions will be mirrored by China.
“We’re limited to boneless beef from cattle under 30 months and the next step with China is to get the bone in product. We’ve had the inspection missions with the Chinese, folks have been over here, we hope that’s all tee’d up.”
Masswohl says the other major market that he’d like to see reopened is Taiwan.