Canadian beef exports steady despite lower volume - GAIN

Chinese market remains closed to Canadian beef exports
calendar icon 19 October 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The US Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Ottawa forecasts Canadian beef exports to remain steady in 2024, following a one percent decrease in export volume in 2023, according to a recent US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

The Chinese market continues to remain closed to Canadian beef exports. It has been closed since Canada detected an atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) case in December 2021. Two of the three largest federal processing plants also remain voluntarily suspended from the Chinese market due to COVID-19. Despite losing what had materialised as a significant volume market, Canada’s exports have remained strong. 

Lower production has led to lowered volumes, but on a percent of production basis, export performance has maintained or gained. FAS/Ottawa has revised 2023 exports slightly lower on lowered production. Canadian exports from the Port of Vancouver were disrupted by an almost two-week strike by port workers. This would have likely disrupted exports to the Indo-Pacific region, but those volumes should now be recovered as the backlog at the port has cleared.

Canada continues to target the Indo-Pacific region for exports. Exports to Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) countries continue to underperform relative to imports from the European Union. Canada is still awaiting recognition of carcass washes utilised in many Canadian plants by the European Union. Recognition of these washes could help to see higher volumes move to that market. However, additional barriers remain, and few exporters are optimistic about opportunity in that market until non-tariff barriers are addressed. Increased exports from Brazil and a recovery of the Australian cattle herd could threaten Canadian beef exports.

Geographic proximity and integration of supply chains will continue to see the United States positioned as the dominant export market for Canadian beef. The demand for beef in the US remains high, and with a contracted cattle herd, there may be gaps for Canadian exports to fill, especially if Canadian consumption is reduced.

As consumers seek bargains and shift more to higher consumption of ground beef, lean trim imports should increase. The Australian cattle herd recovery could support increased imports from Australia in 2024. However, the United States will remain the dominant supplier for beef imports into Canada.

© 2000 - 2023 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.