OTTAWA, Ontario – Since the Government of Canada negotiated new duty-free access with the European Union, Canada Gold Beef has shipped 120 metric tonnes of Canadian hormone-free beef so far in 2011, worth more than $1.5 million (US$1.54 million), to EU markets. Canada expects shipments to continue at this pace.

The EU is one of Canada's largest international markets for agriculture exports. In 2009, Canadian agriculture exports to the EU were valued at $2.5 billion (US$2.6 billion). It is estimated that the new duty-free access for beef could be worth more than $10 million (US$10.3 million) annually for Canada.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz congratulated Canada Gold Beef for its success in responding to a market opportunity made possible by the new duty-free access for Canadian beef announced last November. Ritz also led a trade mission to Europe in January and showcased Canadian beef and other food products to international buyers.

"The EU is Canada's second-largest trading partner,” said Peter Van Loan, International Trade Minister. “Securing access for Canada's beef and cattle in this market is great news for the industry and highlights our government's commitment to expanding access for Canadian products to key markets."

Based in Alberta, Canada Gold Beef Inc. is a value-added marketing organization supplying premium branded beef products to both domestic and international markets. "Canada Gold is pleased to see that we have this new access and appreciates the government's work in making this happen,” said Frank Goetz, president and CEO of Canada Gold. “There is still some work ahead of us, but we would see the EU as a high-value market with a great future for Canadian beef.”