July 23, 2010

Our farmers produce the best food in the world and our Government has been working tirelessly to promote their products abroad.  China, with its population 1.3 billion people, is the world’s largest agricultural product consumer.  It is a key market that our farmers must be able to access.  Let me update you on recent developments in promoting our agricultural products in China.

On June 24 our government announced that it had secured a breakthrough agreement with China to allow the staged market access for Canadian beef and tallow into China. 

Effective July 3rd the ban was lifted on Canadian boneless beef under thirty months and for tallow for industrial use.  Canada is the first BSE-affected country to receive any beef access to China in almost a decade, and this landmark agreement will help our local beef producers by getting our high quality and safe Canadian beef back into the Chinese marketplace.  This is just the start of what I hope will be a full re-opening of the Chinese market to all Canadian beef products.

The groundwork for this outcome was laid during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to China last December, and with the three trips to China that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has embarked on over the past year.  During the Prime Minister’s visit, Hong Kong lifted all restriction on Canadian beef on December 6, 2009: an important step in persuading the Chinese government that our beef is safe. 

Also during that December visit, the government successfully negotiated with China the lifting of the ban on importing Canadian pork products and swine into the Chinese marketplace.  The ban was lifted in February 2010 and our trade relationship is now where it was before the outbreak of H1N1 flu virus in 2009.

Thanks to the ongoing hard work of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, the Prime Minister, and the staff at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Foreign Affairs and International Trade, trade barriers are coming down for Canadian beef and pork in China. These deals are further proof that our Government is expanding trade so that our farmers can sell to more customers in the international market.

Until next time…

Yours truly,

Earl Dreeshen, MP
Red Deer