CALGARY, Alberta – Canadian beef and veal exports are rebounding strongly, led by sales to Japan that jumped by 81% in the first 11 months of last year, according to The Vancouver Sun. The 13,277 tonnes shipped to Japan, the world's third-largest importer of beef, through the end of November were worth $67 million (US$67.4 million), said the Canadian Beef Export Federation. This total is up almost 6,000 tonnes and $26 million (US$26.1 million) over the same period in 2009.

Although Japan still only accepts beef from Canadian cattle under 21 months, negotiations are underway to expand the market to cattle under 30 months of age.

For the first nine months of 2010, beef exports have also increased in other major markets over the same 2009 span, including a 30% jump in export volumes to Asia, 46% to Mexico and 52% (over 10 months) to Russia.

South Korea is the only country that still bans Canadian beef. China announced this summer it would begin accepting beef under 30 months and conducted an inspection of Alberta plants in December.

"By having direct access to China, our exports to the combined Hong Kong-China market would increase from our estimated $65 million [US$65.3 million] for 2010, to $130 million [US$130.7 million]," said Ted Haney, president of the federation. "That would be full access. Canada and China have agreed to a step-wise access, beginning with the resumption of trade probably in the first quarter to first half of 2011, with [de-boned] beef from animals under 30 years of age, and then expanding to include bone-in beef and then offal."