As of October 1, 2016, Mexico will fully re-open its border to Canadian beef, ending one of the few trade restrictions that still remain from the initial discovery of a case of BSE in Canada in May 2003.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement in Ottawa on Tuesday, ahead of their “Three Amigos” meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Mexico was one of many countries that closed its border to Canadian beef following the BSE discovery in 2003. The country started accepting beef from Canadian cattle under-30-months (UTM) of age later that year, but kept its border closed to beef from cattle over-30-months (OTM).
The timing of the re-opening is also significant, noted Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president Dan Darling, who was in Ottawa for the announcement.
“The months of October and November are traditionally the time of year when Canadian beef farmers send most of their mature breeding cows to market,” he said. “Mexico has traditionally been an excellent market for Canadian beef. In addition to expanded access for OTM beef, we look forward to potential future opportunities that today’s announcement of fully restored access for Canada for all beef and beef products, regardless of the age of the cattle, will bring.”
Prior to 2003, Canada exported between $270 million to $290 million of beef per year to Mexico, of which approximately a quarter was OTM.
“When our production increases to previous levels, I believe that Mexico could again import more than $250 million per year like it used to,” said Darling.