Russia, Canada reach agreement on meat exports

by Bryan Salvage
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MOSCOW — Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced progress on a number of agricultural issues from Moscow on Oct. 13. Minister Ritz's mission builds on the Joint Statement on Agriculture Cooperation signed in 2007 and Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day's mission to Russia in June.

Both countries agreed to a certificate to open-market access for Canadian bone-in beef from animals less than 30 months of age. The certificate finalized an agreement-in-principle negotiated during Mr. Day's mission in June. Russia and Canada built on that success by agreeing to market access for Canadian boneless beef from animals more than 30 months of age. The countries also agreed to have technical officials work this year to move toward giving Russian importers access to Canadian beef offal.

"I am pleased that my visit to Russia this summer and our representations there on behalf of Canada's beef industry have paid off," said Minister Day. "This will be a great opportunity for our producers to increase their exports to Russia, one of the world's largest beef importers."

The value of under 30-month beef and more than 30-month boneless beef will be worth up to C$32 million ($31 million), according to Canada Beef Export Federation estimates. C.B.E.F. also estimates fully reopening the Russian market to Canadian offal will be worth up to C$10 ($9.7) million.

C.B.E.F. relays Russia is also expanding its sheep and goat production and opening market access for high-quality Canadian small ruminant breeding stock. The Russian market will be worth up to C$8 million ($7.7 million) over three years, the Canadian Sheep Federation estimates. Russian officials also committed to send a technical team to work with Canadian officials and industry to complete meat plant approvals within this calendar year.

The Canadian industry participated in the Moscow Golden Autumn Agricultural Fair and finalized key agreements with Russian industry to provide high-quality beef breeding stock and technical training. Hawkeye Land & Livestock Ltd. of Canada signed a deal to ship up to 10,000 head of pure-bred beef breeding stock to the Russian-owned Northern Agro Industrial Company.

Alta Exports International, another Canadian company, signed an agreement with Inter-Regional Beef Breeding Cattle Development Fund to support the establishment of a beef-breeding training center to ensure Russian buyers can maximize production from Canadian breeding stock.

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