Japan lifts 20-year-old restrictions on Canadian processed beef -Canada farm ministry

Beef cattle at the Kasko Cattle feedlot near Coaldale
Beef cattle at the Kasko Cattle feedlot, which are affected by a supply chain blockage caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreaks at meat-packing plants, in Coaldale, Alberta, Canada May 6, 2020. Picture taken May 6, 2020. REUTERS/Todd Korol

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 27 (Reuters) - Japan has removed restrictions on Canadian processed beef imports that date back 20 years, allowing for expanded trade, Canada's agriculture ministry said on Monday.

Japan, like many other nations, restricted imports of Canadian beef after the 2003 discovery in the province of Alberta of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) disease.

Importing countries have gradually eliminated the restrictions, and Japan's latest step lifts its remaining restrictions, which affected processed Canadian beef such as patties, a government spokesperson said.

Japan, Canada's second-largest beef and veal export market as of January, according to Statistics Canada data, lifted the restrictions on March 22, the spokesperson said.

Japan bought C$518 million ($379.29 million) worth of Canadian beef and beef products last year.

Japan's lifting of restrictions comes as it is scheduled to reduce tariffs on beef imports starting April 1 under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact of which Canada is a member.

BSE is a progressive, fatal neurological disease believed to be spread when cattle eat protein rendered from the brains and spines of infected cattle or sheep. Canada, the world's eighth-largest beef exporter, banned that practice in 1997.

($1 = 1.3657 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Sandra Maler

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Thomson Reuters

Covers energy, agriculture and politics in Western Canada with the energy transition a key area of focus. Has done short reporting stints in Afghanistan, Pakistan, France and Brazil and covered Hurricane Michael in Florida, Tropical Storm Nate in New Orleans and the 2016 Alberta wildfires and the campaign trails of political leaders during two Canadian election campaigns.