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Canada Beef Seen Shipping To China By December

Canada’s first commercial shipments of beef and tallow to China in seven years may happen in December or early 2011, with technical work remaining to follow through on the Asian country’s political commitment to ease restrictions, an industry official said Oct. 19.

China agreed ahead of G20 meetings in June to accept Canadian boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age and beef tallow as a first step to full market access.

Although some beef officials had expected the first shipments last summer, trade is more likely to resume in December at the earliest, said John Masswohl, director of government and international relations for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

Canada, the third-largest beef shipper, is the first country affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, to regain access to China.

Canada’s initial access to China is worth an estimated C$60 million ($58 million), with tallow – fat that has industrial applications – the most valuable part.

To resume beef trade, the two countries still need to agree on export certification and Chinese inspectors may want to make a second visit to Canadian slaughter plants, Masswohl said. To resume trade in tallow, the countries also need to agree on technical conditions, he said.

“We’re still at it, but we’re not across the goal line yet,” he said.

Some Canadian beef reached China for a promotional event in July, which Masswohl said was a positive sign.

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