Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in China this week building on the work achieved during Agriculture Minister Lawrence Macaulayâ€™s recent trade mission to the country.
There was some good news for Canada's beef industry as Trudeau and China's premier announced an agreement to expand access for Canadian beef into China.
China will allow the importation of Canadian fresh chilled beef in a pilot project, and establish the documentation to enable bone-in beef trade.
â€œI am happy to say that their demand for beef is also growing and Canadian ranchers are glad to have more opportunity to supply them, thanks to the expanded access announced today by Prime Minister Trudeau,â€� said Canadian Cattlemenâ€™s Association (CCA) Vice President David Haywood-Farmer. â€œIf we can someday reach a free trade agreement, our objective would be to eliminate the Chinese tariffs on Canadian beef as well.â€�
Previously Canadian beef exports had been limited to frozen boneless beef, with bone-in access approved in principle last year, subject to establishing the documentation requirements.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) and Canada Beef estimate that the new access announced could be worth $125 million in additional beef exports to China over the next five years.
There was also a positive development on the pork side, as both countries agreed to start a pilot project for the export of Canadian chilled pork to China.
Canada has a particular expertise in exporting chilled pork, especially to Japan, where shares of chilled Canadian pork continues to climb. In 2016 alone, Canada exported 132,094 tonnes of chilled pork to Japan valued at $755m, a 5% volume increase over the previous year.
â€œThis announcement cannot come at a more critical timeâ€� says Rick Bergmann, Chair of the Canadian Pork Council. â€œWe are very grateful for all the hard work being done by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Champagne to improve access and are pleased that Minister MacAulayâ€™s trade mission was able to contribute to this success.â€�
China is Canadaâ€™s second-biggest volume export market for pork after the United States and Canadaâ€™s second largest national two-way trade partner.