Year-end numbers for beef exports to the European Union show growth that is encouraging to Canadian and European farmers and ranchers alike.
Canada exported 1,059 tonnes of beef to the EU last year, worth $15.5 million, according to Statistics Canada. That’s a 113 per cent increase in volume and 98 per cent increase in value compared with 2017.
At the same time, European beef exports to Canada in 2018 grew to 3,236 tonnes, up 12 per cent in volume and 22 per cent in value ($18.9 million) from a year earlier.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association attributes this growth to a combination of factors, but primarily to the increasing number of producers supplying more EU eligible cattle and a major packer developing the European market. This should fuel steady continued growth through 2019 and beyond.
The CCA is working on that front. For example, it is currently investigating (with the federal government) options to increase the number of auditors that can undertake the hormone-free audits that are required for EU shipment. The CCA is also working on a submission for EU approval of the use of citric acid and peroxyacetic acid. These food safety interventions have been used with great success in Canada and abroad for many years.
As nearly two-thirds of the 2018 volume and half the value has gone to the U.K., much is riding on the access Canadian beef will have to an independent U.K. following Brexit. Unfortunately, uncertainty over Brexit is causing a delay in bringing future Canada-U.K. trade parameters into focus.