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US/Canada cattle trade issues

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Mike

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Washington-In response to meetings in December in Ottawa, Canada with cattle industry leaders from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the Canadian government has announced it has begun a review of current restrictions on U.S. feeder cattle imported into Canadian feedlots.

The decision came on the heels of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed rule to amend its bovine spongiform encephalopathy regulations to establish a new category of regions that recognizes those that present a minimal risk of introducing BSE into the United States via the importation of certain low-risk live ruminants and rumination products.

Chandler Keys, NCBA vice president of government affairs, says of Canada's recent move, "For decades, non-scientific trade restrictions have created barriers in the selling of U.S. feeder cattle, breeding stock, and semen and embryos to Canada. Continued testing requirements by Canada for anaplasmosis and bluetongue on our imported cattle should not be tolerated."

Canada's Minister of Agriculture Lyle Vanclief, says in a statement: "Currently, U.S. feeder cattle imported into western Canada during the summer must be tested and treated to prevent the introduction of bluetongue and anaplasmosis, two livestock diseases that occur in the U.S. and are not present here in Canada. Neither bluetongue nor anaplasmosis pose any human health risk...New scientific evidence emerging at the international level suggests that we could revise our requirements to further increase access for imported U.S. feeder cattle."

NCBA Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs Gary Weber and Keys traveled to Canada in December for meetings with top Canadian agriculture officials on this issue. As rule-making amendments continue in response to the case of BSE found in Canada this past May, NCBA is urging USDA officials to ensure that current Canadian practices of using animal health issues as trade barriers be addressed before making a move to resume trade of live cattle with Canada.

"It is imperative that a science-based approach is used to determine animal health standards, including those governing the movement of U.S. cattle into Canada," says Weber. "We must seize this opportunity to analyze flaws in our trading relationship, and create a harmonization of animal health standards that allows an equitable flow of cattle in both directions. There is no science today that supports the restrictions Canada has imposed upon us."

Minister Vanclief noted that the proposed requirements will be available for public comment in the coming weeks and decisions should be finalized as soon as possible. He also mentioned that various departments of the Canadian government and other stakeholders will examine this issue with USDA in coming months.

Previously, NCBA sent letters to USDA reiterating cattle producers' concerns and desire to remove these trade barriers. Recently, NCBA President Eric Davis and NCBA CEO Terry Stokes met with USDA Secretary Ann Veneman to discuss the situation.

"NCBA is the leader for all U.S. cattlemen on these kinds of Canadian trade issue negotiations," says Davis. "In fact, we will continue to work thoroughly to assure there is fair trade for our producers throughout the world."
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This article was written in Jan 2004.

Seems as though there have been cattle trade issues between US and Canada for quite a while. I am having problems with getting semen shipped now because of some of these "barriers".

Hope they all get worked out soon.
 

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