Canada to accept beef from Argentina

by Erica Shaffer
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BUENOS AIRES – Canada recently agreed to open its market for fresh and frozen, boneless beef from Argentina, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said in a news release. The government said 13 years of intense negotiations by the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the National Service for Agricultural Health and Quality (SENASA) led to the result.

Canada banned imports of beef from Argentina following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that can sicken cattle, swine, sheep, goats, deer and other animals with divided hooves, according to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website. Most animals don’t die from the disease, but FMD leaves them weakened and unable to produce meat and milk at pre-infection levels.

“FMD causes production losses and hardships for farmers and ranchers,” APHIS said in a fact sheet. “It also has serious impacts on livestock trade — a single detection of FMD will likely stop international trade completely for a period of time.”

The United States has not had a case of FMD since 1929, and had a long-standing import ban fresh beef imports from countries with a history of FMD outbreaks in their animal herds. Canada banned imports of beef from Argentina in 2001. The year before, Argentina exported to Canada about 26,000 tons of fresh and frozen beef.

“Our sales will rely on the quota granted in the WTO [and] authorized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)…,” the government said. The quota applies to countries with which Canada does not have free trade agreements. Once Argentina completes its quota of 11,809 tonnes with a zero tariff, Argentina can continue to access Canada’s market for beef by paying a tariff of 26.5 percent.

In June 2015, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture announced changes to rules regarding imports of fresh, chilled or frozen beef from Argentina and Brazil. In 2014, APHIS announced plans to add Patagonia to a list of countries deemed free of FMD and rinderpest.
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