WASHINGTON – Details of a regulatory cooperation agreement designed to improve the flow of meat trade at the US-Canada border were recently announced by President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Joint comments on this issue were submitted by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), American Meat Institute, National Meat Association and the National Pork Producers Council last spring, which helped play a role in shaping the tentative agreement.

USMEF is pleased with the progress being made on this initiative, said Paul Clayton, senior vice president for technical services, of the organization. Although US meat generally flows smoothly into Canada, crossing the border can be more complicated than some exporters anticipate, he said.

Efforts to streamline the process are being applauded, especially with US meat exports to Canada enjoying such a good year. From January through October, beef exports to Canada have already reached new records for volume (361 million lbs.) and value (nearly $862 million), while 2010’s record for pork exports to Canada — 403 million lbs. valued at $618 million — will probably be broken when the November results are tallied.

Issues receiving attention in this most recent US/Canadian initiative include implementing electronic border-related document transmission by the end of 2013; cutting back on duplicate meat inspections at the border; aligning US and Canadian practices on the naming of meat cuts; aligning application and review processes for veterinary drug approvals and harmonizing maximum drug residue limits.