China has agreed to allow imports of Canadian beef again, after a nine year pause due to the 2003 BSE crisis. The deal was announced during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent trade mission to China.
The beef market in China has been soaring in recent years as the country’s economy surges ahead, boosting millions of its citizens into a new middle class that desires better food and nutrition options.
“This is potentially great news for our beef industry here in Manitoba,” said MCEC vice-chair Gaylene Dutchyshen. “We recognize we have to create new beef slaughter capacity here in Manitoba and have it export products to targeted international buyers.”
Last year, MCEC took part in a trade mission to China led by CentrePort Winnipeg. There is considerable interest from mainland China to find reliable, consistent sources of high quality protein such as Manitoba beef.
“It’s too early to celebrate, but this latest trade agreement is yet another sign that things are moving in the right direction for Manitoba beef producers,” said Dutchyshen. “We have excellent beef. We have CentrePort. And we have advanced plans for new federally-inspected beef plants to come on stream in the next two years. With all these elements coming together, I’d like to think we’re close to a very positive tipping point.”