Wednesday marked the five year anniversary for CETA - the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and European Union.
The Canadian Cattle Association (CCA) remains a leading supporter of opening access for Canadian beef exports to the European Union. Although the CETA created quotas for nearly 65,000 tonnes of duty-free access for Canadian beef, unresolved technical barriers have
prevented CETA from delivering its full potential.
Dennis Laycraft, the Executive Vice President of the Canadian Cattle Association, says today (September 21) comes with a sense of disappointment as some key technical barriers still have to be resolved.
"We had hoped that we would see some faster progress on some of the meat inspection issues. We have one of the most rigorous systems in the world here in Canada and in the US. We use a number of products in our our meat hygiene system that are not approved for use in Europe."
In 2017, the CCA estimated that there would be potential to export about $600 million of Canadian beef annually into the European Union.
Laycraft says exports to the EU this year are probably valued at $18 to 20 million, down from the $23 million dollars worth of product exported there in 2021.
"When you get our beef there, we see excellent demand for it. So, we know if the door gets opened we're confident that our product will fare very well in Europe."
CCA President Reg Schellenberg says despite the disappointing results thus far, CCA remains resolved in unlocking trade potential in the EU
"Our exports to Europe are minimal, a far cry from what we expected and certainly much less than the amount of beef Europe is sending to Canada."
The CCA points out that the imbalance in the Canada-EU beef trade is striking.
In 2021, Europe exported 16,295 tonnes of beef worth $100 million to Canada and for every pound of Canadian beef exported to Europe,
Canada has imported eleven.
In 2022, that imbalance has increased to a 17 to 1 ratio.