Japan Lifts Restrictions On Canadian Beef Imports

OTTAWA — Japan will have more access to imported Canadian beef for the first time in two decades.

The federal government announced Monday that Tokyo is lifting the last of its restrictions against Canadian beef, marking “a new era” for Canada and its second-largest market for beef and beef products.

“Expanding market access for Canadian exporters – while also benefiting Japanese consumers who will have greater access to Canada’s high-quality beef products,” reads a statement from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Tokyo first placed restrictions on Canadian beef in 2003 after Albertan cattle herders discovered a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), otherwise known as mad cow disease.

Officials say the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has worked to maintain high production standards and quality of Canadian beef in order to do business in key areas like Japan, calling it an important market for Canada and the world.

The feds say Japan is Canada’s third-largest market for agriculture and food.

“Cattle producers are grateful for the removal of trade barriers for processed beef in Japan, our second-largest export market for beef,” said Nathan Phinney, president of the Canadian Cattle Association, in a statement.

“Our industry will continue to support global food security by providing some of the most sustainable and highest quality beef in the world.”