Canada lifts ban on EU beef imports

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Commission has called on other EU trading partners to follow Canada's lead and treat the EU as a single trading entity.
The Commission has called on other EU trading partners to follow Canada's lead and treat the EU as a single trading entity.

Related tags: European union

Canada has lifted a ban on beef and processed beef from 19 EU member states which has been in place since the 1996 BSE scare.

The Commission is calling on other EU trading partners to adopt a similar approach by recognising the EU as a single entity.

EU health and food safety commissioner Andriukaitis, trade commissioner Malmström and agriculture commissioner Hogan issued a joint statement in which they welcomed the move.

"[This decision] will provide a welcome boost to Europe's beef producers and exporters, particularly as it comes at a time when farmers across the EU are going through a particularly difficult period.

"By re-authorising 19 Member States at once, Canada recognises that the EU functions as a single entity with uniform and harmonised rules and standards, where enforcement is overseen by the European Commission.

“The agriculture and food sectors must be able to capitalise on this achievement. This market opening also sends an important signal to the EU's trading partners worldwide that EU beef is safe, and that imports of EU beef should be swiftly resumed.” 

The 19 Member States that have now been authorised to resume exports are the same that had access to the Canadian market before the BSE ban came into force: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Earlier this year Ireland became the first EU country to regain entry to the US beef market after the ban was lifted. The Irish government had hoped that exports would total €100 m by the end of the year as demand for hormone-free, grass-fed beef in the US rises, but actual figures fell well below state predictions at €194,000 for the first six months.

The Irish Food Board, Bord Bia, is working on extending the trade agreement to include manufactured beef (mince) which it hopes will increase sales.

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