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Jamaica Resumes Imports of Canadian Beef

The Caribbean Nation Stopped Accepting Canadian Beef in 2003 due to B.S.E

By Jean-Paul McDonald,

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast have announced that Jamaica will resume beef imports from Canada, effective immediately. Jamaica closed the market for imports of Canadian beef in 2003 due to B.S.E. With access now fully restored, Canadian beef producers can once again export their products to the island nation.

The Jamaican market for Canadian beef is estimated to be worth approximately $4.5 million annually (or about 1.5 million pounds of beef). Jamaica was Canada’s sixth largest merchandise export market among the Caribbean countries in 2013 - behind Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Barbados and the Dominican Republic.  After Cuba, Jamaica is Canada’s second largest market for agricultural exports within the Caribbean region, with agricultural exports to Jamaica totalling $54 million in 2013.

Although Jamaica had restricted imports of beef from Canada in 2003, they have continued to import other goods from Canada over the last decade, including skim milk powder, pig fat, frozen french fries, whey, non-durum wheat, and more.

B.S.E (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), also referred to as Mad Cow Disease, was discovered in Canada’s cattle herd in May 2003 and had a devastating impact on the Canadian cattle and beef industry, which is heavily dependent on exports.  

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