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Canada expands beef trade with U.S., China offers limited access

Late last week, Canada moved to further normalize trade in beef and beef products with the U.S. But on the other side of the world, an announcement from China didn't offer the access the U.S. had been hoping for.

Canada will once again accept U.S. beef cattle over 30 months of age, and all classes of U.S. cattle, including those for breeding purposes born after 1999.

"Canada is an important market for U.S. beef and beef products," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said from Geneva. "We have worked closely with our Canadian counterparts establish a trading system that follows World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines for the safe trade of beef and beef products.

"All countries should work toward these guidelines," Johanns continued. "I will continue our efforts to further open world markets to U.S. beef."

Johanns is less pleased with trade developments with China. Friday, the Chinese announced only boneless beef under 30 months of age would be allowed to enter its market from the U.S.

While he says he appreciates China's efforts since April to resume market access for U.S. beef, he calls the latest announcement "disappointing."

At a meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Washington, D.C., last April, China agreed to reopen its market to U.S. beef by June 30, following the development of a science-based trading protocol consistent with OIE guidelines.

"We have fully described the numerous safeguards in our system, answered many questions and delivered an abundance of factual, science-based assurances that U.S. beef is safe," Johanns said. "It's time for China to open its market to all U.S. beef products, in accordance with the international standards established by the OIE.

Johanns added, "We will not be satisfied until a full range of U.S. beef products are once again accepted into the Chinese market. These are the very same products that Americans and many consumers in nations across the globe safely enjoy every day. We stand ready to continue our technical discussions with China to finalize a protocol based on international scientific guidelines, which we hope will result in a significant market opening in the coming weeks."

Late last week, Canada moved to further normalize trade in beef and beef products with the U.S. But on the other side of the world, an announcement from China didn't offer the access the U.S. had been hoping for.

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