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Canadian Meat Processors Call for Action on Trade Agreement

30 December 2013

CANADA - Canadian meat processors are urging the governments of Canada and the United States to move forward on all initiatives that were proposed in the Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border Action Plan.

The second annual Implementation Report on the Beyond the Border Action Plan was released on 19 December.

Announced initially by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama on 7 December 2011, the Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness presented a series of specific proposals to support bilateral trade and travel, improve security and align regulatory requirements.

Many of the proposals could facilitate trade in meat products between Canada and the United States.

“Canadian meat processors recognise and appreciate the progress that has been achieved during the past two years on a variety of Beyond the Border projects, including the Single Window and the Border Fees Transparency initiatives,” said Canadian Meat Council President Arnold Drung.

“At the same time, we regret the apparent absence of progress on the promised bi-national pilot project on meat shipments,” added Drung.

A promising initiative was inclusion in the Beyond the Border Action Plan of a pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility of eliminating border re-inspection of meat trade between Canada and the United States.

Meat that is exported from the United States to Canada is not re-inspected at the border.

Rather, it is allowed to move inland to one of hundreds of Canadian federally registered establishments where any requisite samples are collected and inspections performed.

“Meat should move as easily from Canada into the United States as it currently does from the United States into Canada,” said Canadian Meat Council Executive Director Jim Laws.

“Indeed, meat should move as freely between Canada and the United States as it does between most countries of the European Union,” added Laws.

The one year Pilot Project for meat exported from Canada to the US, which was scheduled to begin in September of 2012, has yet to begin. Canadian meat exporters pay more than $3.6 million in fees annually to privately owned US Inspection Houses

located near the US border with Canada. These fees are not regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture, thereby permitting the privately owned Inspection Houses to charge whatever amounts they wish to Canadian meat exporters.

US exporters do not pay similar fees when exporting meat to Canada.

Livestock producers, meat processors, workers, consumers and local economies on both sides of the Canada-US border benefit from an integrated North American livestock and meat sector.

The north-south integration enhances competitiveness thereby assisting the export-based livestock and meat industry in supplying safe, high quality protein to consumers not only in North America, but also in more than 120 countries around the world.

Canada’s meat processing industry includes some 400 federally registered establishments, providing not only safe, high quality protein for Canadian consumers, but also adding jobs and making a significant contribution to local economic activity in both rural and urban Canada. With annual sales of $24.1 billion, beef exports of $1.3 billion, pork exports of $3.2 billion and 68,500 jobs, the Canadian meat industry is the largest component of this country’s food processing sector.

The Canadian Meat Council has been representing Canada’s federally inspected meat processing industry since 1919.

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