Cuba Opens to Canadian Beef, Nears Agreement on Live Cattle

by 5m Editor
15 December 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - The Government of Canada today announced that Cuba has agreed to re-open its border to a broad range of Canadian beef products.

The agreement to resume trade follows extensive discussions between Canadian and Cuban animal health and food safety officials since the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada.

Effective immediately, Cuba will accept Canadian beef and beef products from cattle of any age with minor exceptions, such as mechanically separated meat, vertebral column, trimmings, and tissues derived from the head. Cuba has also agreed to accept Canadian pet food that does not contain meat and bone meal of ruminant origin. Building on this agreement, Canadian and Cuban officials hope to agree shortly on certification requirements that would permit the importation of live Canadian cattle.

"This is a very important gain for Canada. We continue to make progress internationally, and this agreement further demonstrates the level of confidence that our trading partners have in Canada's human and animal health safeguards," said Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Andy Mitchell.

Aside from providing immediate economic benefits to Canada, this agreement is important for Canadian exports of beef and beef products to all countries. Cuba joins a growing list of countries that have chosen to more closely align their import policies with the standards of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). These standards clearly state that BSE should not significantly impair trade where proper safeguards are in place, as is the case in Canada.

Cuba is a significant export market for Canada. In 2002, exports of Canadian beef and beef products to Cuba totalled more than $2.2 million.

Source: CNW Telbec - 14th December 2004

5m Editor