High 'steaks': A critique of Canada's 2014 national beef strategy

Jabbour, Rita
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

The discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in a lone cow on a Northern Alberta ranch in 2003 battered the nation's beef sector as North American and international markets banned Canadian exports of live cattle and beef by-products. Canada has since regained full or partial access to many major export destinations at a time of growing global beef demand. Canada's most recent national beef strategy focuses heavily on how the industry can work collaboratively to best position itself in competing for a greater segment of the global beef market, particularly in Asia, and primarily through the development of new free trade agreements. The presence of non-tariff trade restrictions relating to food health and safety in identified foreign markets and a shifting environment in international trade, however, promote a high risk future. In light of declining prices for beef and the increasing trade imbalance with the United States, this paper argues that a better strategy for an industry that has historically upheld an 'export or starve' dictum, is a greater focus on the domestic consumer market and the continued expansion of the nation's slaughter capacity.

Canada, National Beef Strategy, cattle industry, export markets, foreign markets, market expansion, beef, domestic consumer marker, food health and safety, non-tariff trade barriers, trade agreements