Russia agrees to accept more Canadian beef

Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:20pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada will begin exporting more beef to Russia as it slowly recovers markets it lost with the discovery of mad cow disease on a Canadian farm in 2003.

Russia will allow Canada to ship bone-in beef from cattle under 30 months of age and boneless beef from cattle over 30 months, Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said on Tuesday.

Market access for those beef cuts is worth an estimated C$32 million ($31 million) annually, Ritz said from Moscow in a conference call with reporters, following a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Victor Zubkov.

"The relationship between Canada and Russia is very important to us," Ritz said.

Russia imported more than C$372 million worth of Canadian farm products in 2008, mostly meat, making it Canada's 15th largest agricultural export market.

Russia previously allowed boneless beef from animals under 30 months, but not in commercially viable quantities, Ritz said.

The two governments also agreed to work toward opening up shipments of beef offal, the byproducts of beef production. That market would be worth C$10 million annually, Ritz said.

Canada will also begin shipping breeding stock of ruminants such as sheep and goats to Russia, a market that may be worth C$8 million over three years.   Continued...