Japan Relaxes Curbs On Beef Imports From Canada

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | January 29, 2013 10:58 PM EST

Japan Monday agreed to lower the beef business barrier which could double the potential market value of the Canadian beef exports to Japan reaching up to $150 million annually.

Japan's Foreign Ministry announced Monday the government would allow imports of beef from cows up to 30 months old. The previous standard was to ban imports of beef from animals older than 20 months, according to CALGARY HERALD.

The long-awaited amendment is scheduled to come into effect Feb. 1.

"The Government of Canada has reached an agreement with Japan to expand market access to Canadian beef from animals under 30 months of age (UTM) - an improvement over the current requirement which only permits beef exports from animals under 21 months of age," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast in a press release Monday.

"As part of our government's plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians by opening new markets, we have been working closely with Japan to expand access for our exporters," said Fast.

"This is an exciting announcement and we've been looking forward to this for quite some time," said Martin Unrau, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, in a press statement.

"This announcement is very significant for Canadian cattle producers. Japan is extremely important market and this expanded access will breathe new life into the Canadian beef sector."

Japan banned beef imports in 2003 from several countries, including U.S. and Canada, after a fatal brain disease that was discovered in a few animals, leading to concern that eating their meat could pose a health risk for humans.

Japan is Canada's third largest export market for beef.

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