President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently announced details of a regulatory cooperation agreement designed to improve the flow of meat trade at the U.S.-Canada border. Last spring, joint comments on this issue were submitted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), American Meat Institute, National Meat Association and the National Pork Producers Council, which helped play a role in shaping the tentative agreement.
Paul Clayton, USMEF senior vice president for technical services, says the organization is pleased with the progress being made on this initiative. He says that while U.S. meat generally flows smoothly into Canada, crossing the border can be more complicated than some exporters anticipate. Efforts to streamline the process are certainly welcome, especially with U.S. meat exports to Canada enjoying such a banner year.
Through October, beef exports to Canada have already set new records for volume (361 million pounds) and value (nearly $862 million), while last year’s record for pork exports to Canada – 403 million pounds valued at $618 million - will likely be broken when the November results are compiled.
Specific issues receiving attention in this initiative include: implementing electronic border-related document transmission by the end of 2013; reducing duplicate meat inspections at the border; aligning U.S. and Canadian practices on the naming of meat cuts; aligning application and review processes for veterinary drug approvals and harmonizing maximum drug residue limits.