Mexico will drop last restrictions to Canadian beef imports

During their bilateral meeting this week in Ottawa, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Mexico will lift its outstanding restrictions on Canadian beef and beef products effective October 1, 2016.

Mexico closed its border to Canadian beef in May 2003 when Canada discovered its first domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The Mexican Government re-opened access to Canadian beef from cattle under-30-months (UTM) of age later that year, but remained closed to beef from older cattle (OTM) and some UTM offal.

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) President Dan Darling, in Ottawa for President Peña’s announcement, said: “Mexico has traditionally been an excellent market for Canadian beef. In addition to expanded access for OTM beef, we look forward to potential future opportunities that today’s announcement of fully restored access for Canada for all beef and beef products, regardless of the age of the cattle, will bring.”

Prior to the BSE discovery, Canada was exporting between $270 million to $290 million of beef per year to Mexico, of which approximately 20 to 25 per cent was OTM.

Mexico has still been Canada’s third largest export market the past three years. From 2011 to 2015, Canada averaged $136 million in annual beef exports to Mexico.

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