Exports vital to industry expansion

Canada’s beef exporting industry is projecting a 10 percent rise in exports over the next decade with much of the increase going to countries that now block or restrict Canadian beef.

It says South Korea and China will account for almost 52,000 tonnes of sales by 2020 although that assumes Canadian negotiators persuade those two countries to open borders that were closed after the 2003 BSE discovery.

At the same time, the Canada Beef Export Federation predicts that exports to the United States will fall almost 10 percent over the decade to 963,000 tonnes.

“The future of this industry depends on trade,” CBEF president Ted Haney said in an interview during the federation’s semi-annual meeting last week. “We will always be an exporting sector.”

Last year during the worldwide recession, Canadian beef exports dropped slightly but the industry is predicting a rebound in 2010.

Haney said that given his trade focus, it is frustrating that part of his job is to constantly counter arguments from a significant minority in the Canadian cattle industry that believes the trade focus should be scrapped and the industry refocused on the domestic market.

“Our future is in expanding exports and not in turning away from them,” he said. “That is the message that we have to keep getting out.”

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