Canada-EU beef trade deal not working as well as hoped


CBC (Canada) 

via Yahoo News - October 7, 2019


A difference in food health standards between the European Union and Canada is being blamed for beef exports falling short of expectations, despite a promising modification to a trade agreement between Canada and Europe.


In 2017, the landmark Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was established, removing tariffs imposed on Canadian production.


At first, this was good news for beef producers. But they have been unable to take full advantage of the agreement, and they believe it's due to different health standards required by Europe.


In 2018, Canada sent just 3.1 per cent of the 50,000 tonnes of meat authorized for export each year, and in 2017 only 2.3 per cent.


That means CETA earned only $12.7 million for Canadian producers last year, according to Global Affairs Canada.


Roadblocks to export


According to Rich Smith, head of the Alberta Beef Producers, the modified CETA deal has the potential to make the industry approximately $600 million annually.


He calls it a missed opportunity for Albertans dealing in the beef export.


"We miss an opportunity to take full advantage of it because of a number of obstacles," said Smith.


Europe does not allow the use of growth hormones and antibiotics during beef production, both of which are used commonly in beef production in Canada.


That means those raising cattle for export in Canada must often adjust their method of production on their farms to be approved, which can be costly.


Beyond extra cost, another roadblock is that there are not enough veterinarians who are able to certify farms by EU standards.


"There is an overall lack of veterinarians in our industry and that is a problem," said Smith.


"But even the veterinarians that we have, not all of them are able to certify cattle for EU exports."


Reality check


Christian Siviere, an expert in international trade, says CETA caused excitement for many but how it plays out is more complicated...