OTTAWA, Ontario – Canadian cattle producers now have another option when it comes to exporting their product internationally. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast announced today that Azerbaijan has agreed to allow Canadian cattle to enter the country, effective immediately.

"As a trading nation, the Government of Canada is working hard to ensure that agricultural exports continue to grow and contribute to economic growth and jobs here in Canada," Minister Ritz said. "Today's announcement flows from our unwavering commitment to create new and diverse export opportunities for our hardworking farmers to help boost their bottom lines."

The bulk of expected sales from the Canadian cattle exports to Azerbaijan will be in the area of dairy genetics.

"The Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA) has expressed a keen interest in Azerbaijan's rapidly growing agricultural market," said Rick McRonald, Executive Director of the CLGA. "This will be a totally new market for the Canadian genetics industry, and we expect that the first potential Azeri live cattle buyers will be in Canada next month. This could result in initial sales of 2,000 dairy heifers.”

Canadian agri-food exports to Azerbaijan averaged more than $2.1 million per year from 2009 to 2011. Pork is Canada's primary export to Azerbaijan, with an average annual export value of $1.7 million. Other Canadian exports include beef, poultry and pulses.