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Calves are shown on the Grazed Right cattle ranch near Black Diamond, Alta., Friday, May 13, 2016. (Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Calves are shown on the Grazed Right cattle ranch near Black Diamond, Alta., Friday, May 13, 2016. (Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

China lifts parts of 13-year ban on Canadian beef Add to ...

China has lifted a ban on some types of Canadian beef, ending a 13-year prohibition that has restricted cattle producers’ access to an important overseas market.

The change was made by Chinese agricultural authorities on Sept. 19, just two days before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Canada for high-level meetings.

China will now allow sales of bone-in beef from Canadian cows under 30 months of age, according to a Chinese circular posted online this week. It’s unclear, however, what restrictions will remain, since quarantine and inspection measures must still be developed.

Among foreign nations, China has kept some of the strictest restrictions on exports of Canadian beef following the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in Canadian cattle in 2003.

China allowed imports of boneless under-30-months Canadian beef in 2010.

The Canadian cattle industry has estimated that expanding access to bone-in under-30-months beef will grow its Chinese sales to $240-million per year.

China bought $25-million worth of Canadian product in 2013. The country eats about 13 per cent of global beef.

Last year, China’s share of Canadian exports rose to 10 per cent, making it Canada’s second-largest market. Exports have plunged this year, however, down two-thirds over the January to July period, compared to the same period last year, according to Statistics Canada figures.

Earlier this week, Mr. Li promised U.S. cattle producers that China will “soon” end a de facto import ban on American beef as well.

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