OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Canada announced it has secured a breakthrough agreement with China to allow staged market access for beef and tallow. In doing so, it has become the first country to resume trade with China following a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (B.S.E.). Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan witnessed the signing of the Cooperative Arrangement on June 24 following meetings with the Chinese delegation led by President Hu.

"This is tremendous news for Canadian beef producers as access to the rapidly growing Chinese market means significant market advantage and a better bottom line for Canadian producers," Mr. Ritz said. "Canada produces the best beef in the world and we have the consistency, safety and quality that China is looking for. What we have accomplished today recognizes our mutual interests, strong partnership and trade relationship based on sound science."

Canada said its agreement with China provides the foundation for a staged approach to full market access for Canadian beef and beef products. The first step includes access to the Chinese market for boneless beef derived from animals under 30 months of age and tallow for industrial use.

The Chinese market for Canadian beef and tallow is expected to be worth $110 million once full market access is achieved, according to estimates by the Canada Beef Export Federation (C.B.E.F.).

The World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.) has officially categorized Canada as a controlled B.S.E. risk country since 2007. This designation allows for the safe trade in all beef and cattle under specified conditions, which Canada meets.