In what the Canadian government calls a “milestone” decision, Vietnam has become the first Asian market since 2003 to accept live Canadian breeding cattle, sheep and goats.
That means Canada may now compete for its share of a Vietnamese market for live ruminants estimated as worth nearly $50 million, the government said in a release Sunday.
The formal approval from Vietnam’s animal health department for Canadian export health certificates for live cattle and live goats and sheep, allowing trade to resume “immediately,” is expected to lead to “the first commercially significant sales of these Canadian animals into Asia since 2003.”
The Vietnamese industry has expressed “strong interest” in live cattle from Canada as well as live sheep and goats, the government said.
Vietnam was one of many export markets to close its ports to Canadian beef and cattle in 2003 following Canada’s confirmation of its first domestic case of BSE in an Alberta cow.
Hanoi “consistently indicated” it would take a phased approach to resume Canada’s access to the Vietnamese market, first on beef, then on cattle, the Canadian government said Sunday.
All Canadian beef from animals of all ages was granted full access in July last year.
Canada also has access to Vietnam for beef offal (heart, liver, and kidney); bovine semen and embryos; ovine (sheep) semen and embryos; and caprine (goat) semen and embryos.
Sunday’s announcement therefore also gives the go-ahead “without delay” to a co-operative project announced last October between the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA) and Vietnam’s National Institute of Animal Sciences on livestock genetics improvement for sheep and goats in Vietnam.
“We are now in an enviable position to exploit the high quality of our Canadian livestock population’s traceability, transparent genetic ability verification systems, high health standards and, importantly, the willingness of Canadian industry to provide support resources to enable the Vietnamese to take full advantage of Canada’s economically tested cattle, sheep and goat performances,” Rick McRonald, executive director for the Guelph-based CLGA, said in the government’s release.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association on Sunday hailed what it called the government’s “latest market access breakthrough to benefit Canada’s beef sector.”
“Securing access to new markets and gaining expanded access in existing markets is crucial to returning profitability to Canadian cattle producers,” CCA president Travis Toews, who farms at Beaverlodge, Alta., said in a separate release.
“Canadian breeding cattle offer some of the best genetics in the world and this agreement will help drive sales.”