Canadian beef products approved for export to Brazil for the first time since 2003

(Penn State/ BY 2.0)

Canada has once again been approved to export not only live cattle, but also beef products, to Brazil, who shut the doors on Canadian beef exports after Canada confirmed a case of BSE in 2003.

Based on Canada’s BSE controlled risk status, live cattle have been approved for export to Brazil since July 2018, however, it wasn’t until Canada obtained a negligible risk status by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for BSE in May 2021, that beef products were also added to the approved-for-export list.

Although the goal was to restore those beef export markets that were lost in 2003, Cameron Newbigging, senior media relations advisor for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, says it’s also about diversifying.

“AAFC has looked at how to take a more deliberate approach to diversification, with a more focused effort, which may materialize in tangible results in the shorter term. AAFC, in coordination with the CFIA, Global Affairs Canada, and other partners, continues to work on options and avenues to support industry stakeholders in taking advantage of new opportunities and diversifying markets.”

It would seem that diversification is largely based on the restoration of these previously lost relationships as Newbigging states it would be a lengthy process to negotiate new access with another country for any product. Currently however, the AAFC and CFIA are actively working on gaining or re-gaining access for meat products to multiple countries around the world, including in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Will the newly-restored relationship see a large uptick in cattle and beef products exports, considering Brazil is already a large exporter of beef themselves? Canadian industry stakeholders have indicated that there are niche opportunities for high-quality Canadian beef and beef products in Brazil, says Newbigging.

The recent announcement from the CFIA wasn’t inclusive to only beef. The CFIA stated that swine and select poultry has also been approved for export to Brazil.

According to AAFC’s most recent numbers, pork exports surpassed beef by almost half a billion dollars. In 2021, Canada exported:

  • $1.1 billion in poultry and egg products to the world. The United States, Philippines, Taiwan, Russia, and South Africa were the top-5 export destinations of Canadian poultry and egg products, representing 91.1% of all exports.
  • $4.9 billion in pork and pork products to the world. The United States, Japan, China, Mexico, and Philippines were the top-5 export destinations, representing 89.6% of all pork exports.
  • $4.5 billion in beef and beef products to the world.  The United States, Japan, China, Mexico, and South Korea were the top-5 export destinations of Canadian beef & veal products, representing 94.2% of all beef exports.

Newbigging says the Government of Canada’s Federal Market Access Team, which is comprised of AAFC, CFIA, and Global Affairs Canada, will continue to work closely with Canadian industry stakeholders to help determine and prioritize where to focus resources in order to gain, maintain or expand access to international markets for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.

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