Statistics Canada recently released the 2018 year-end beef trade between Canada and the European Union (EU) and the numbers show growth that is encouraging to Canadian and European farmers and ranchers alike. In 2018 Canada exported 1,059 metric tonnes (Mt) of beef to the EU valued at $15.5 million, a 113 per cent increase in volume and 98 per cent increase in value compared with 2017’s 496 Mt valued at $7.8 million. At the same time European beef exports to Canada in 2018 grew to 3,236 Mt, up 12 per cent in volume and 22 per cent in value ($18.9 million) from 2017.

The CCA attributes this growth to a combination of factors, but primarily to the increasing number of producers supplying more EU eligible cattle and a major packer developing the EU market. As producers’ decisions to operate under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) EU protocol reap positive financial rewards, it fuels broader confidence for steady continued growth through 2019 and beyond.

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The CCA remains committed to continue working with the Government of Canada to further establish the already valuable beef trade relationship with the EU. For example, the CCA is currently investigating with the federal government options to increase the number of auditors that can undertake the hormone free audits that are required for EU shipment. The CCA is also moving forward the necessary steps for Canada to make a submission to EU officials for approval of a portion of Canada’s world class food safety system, the use of citric acid and peroxyacetic acid. These food safety interventions have been used with great success in Canada and abroad for many years.

As nearly two-thirds of the 2018 volume and half the value has gone to the UK, much is riding on the access Canadian beef will have to an independent UK following Brexit. Unfortunately, uncertainty over Brexit is causing a delay in bringing future Canada-UK trade parameters into focus. The CCA will continue to place a priority on maintaining a strong Canada-UK trade relationship.