CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island – Canada's beef industry is riding high on increased market access and trade, according to government officials. Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Regional Minister for PEI addressed the Canadian Cattlemen's Association semi-annual meeting Aug. 13.

Ritz pointed out that approximately 98 percent of the more than 9,000 European Union tariffs will be duty-free for Canadian goods when the Canada-EU trade pact comes into force. This includes new market access giving Canadian farmers yearly duty-free access for up to 50,000 tonnes of beef.

"Market by market, our government is opening and reopening sales opportunities for Canada's high-quality, sustainably sourced beef," Shea said. "By doing so, we are giving Canada's innovative and productive farm and processing industries a competitive advantage in capturing vital new growth in the global marketplace."

He also noted the importance of the United States-Canada trading partnership. In 2013, $45.6 billion dollars in agriculture was traded bilaterally between the US and Canada, $3.3 billion of which was cattle and beef. It's because of this partnership that Ritz emphasized the importance of ending US country-of –origin-labeling policy.

"Our government is continuously working to support a strong and vibrant Canadian beef sector through our great collaboration with provinces and industry," Ritz said. "Our proven track record shows that working together will ensure the global pathways for trade are free, fair and rooted in sound science."