Hong Kong opened its door once more to Canadian beef exports after a Sunday meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Donald Tsang.
The Crown Colony was Canada's fourth largest beef export market in 2008, until the Mad Cow disease caused the closure of that market. Canadian farmers and processors export over half a million dollars of agricultural products to Hong Kong.
Harper said is a statement, "Achieving full access to an important market such as Hong Kong sends a strong signal to the entire Asia-Pacific region that Canadian beef is safe and that Canada's food safety systems are grounded in sound science."
He added, "This deal is further proof that our Government is expanding trade so that our farmers can sell to more customers in the international market."
The reopening of the Hong Kong beef market came at a time that Canadian Beef Export Federation President Ted Haney attended the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Geneva to seek improvement in market access for Canadian beef. Haney estimated the industry loses $100 million monthly in trade benefit until the Doha Round of WTO negotiations are successfully completed.
Haney added improved market reach could lead to an additional $1 billion in extra trade.
On the same day, Harper signed with Tsang a Memorandum of Understanding which would permits youths aged 18 to 30 from the two nations to travel and work in each other's territory up to 12 months. The MOU takes effect March 2010. Canada has 20 similar bilateral youth mobility agreements with other nations to take effect next year, while a similar MOU was inked this year with Spain, Slovenia and Lithuania.