Canada urges Britain to lift ban on hormone-treated beef

The ban on hormone-treated beef was declared legally unenforceable by the World Trade Organization in 1997.

However, a compromise deal was reached in which the EU gave Canada a large non-tariff quote for hormone-free beef and maintained its ban.

Experts say Canada could use the UK’s ban as a bargaining tactic to secure gains elsewhere, rather than insisting it be scrapped at all costs.

The two countries reached a renewal agreement in December 2020 that largely canceled the Canada-EU agreement, but are expected to start bilateral talks on an expanded agreement in April.

Sam Lowe, director of trade at consultancy Flint Global, said the UK remained “arguably in breach of its international obligations” by maintaining a post-Brexit ban.

He said: “My view is that actually it’s not a deciding factor,” he said.

“Canadians are using it as leverage to unlock market access elsewhere. »

Mr Lowe said Canada could also use the beef dispute offensively to block the UK from further access to “incredibly protectionist” Canadian dairy markets.

Nick von Westenholz, head of trade policy at the National Farmers Union, said: “It’s no surprise that Canadians are looking to push this issue forward in negotiations, but UK farmers will be concerned about the prospect of having to compete at an unequal level. playground that gives cost advantages to foreign farmers.

He added: “The UK government has made it clear that it will operate its own independent food safety scheme as part of our independent trade policy, and that we will not allow imports of food produced illegally in the UK. United – whether from Canada or elsewhere. We expect British Ministers to keep this commitment and to stand firm in all negotiations. »

Ms Ng said she and Ms Trevelyan had asked their officials to reach an “ambitious” high-level deal – stressing the countries’ “similar systems” and “shared values”.

Total goods between the UK and Canada stood at nearly £12 billion in 2021.

Beef between UK and Canada threatens trade talks

Canada has been something of a trade pioneer in recent years and is the only G7 member to have agreements with each of the others.

The world’s ninth-largest economy is also a key member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – the trading bloc of Pacific-adjacent nations that the UK aspires to join – and part of a trade union with the United States and Mexico, which Britain has also said it wants to be part of.

As Britain strikes trade deals as an independent nation after Brexit, Canada is one of its main targets.

Bilateral talks will begin in April and could prove to be among the most difficult yet.

Although a valued Commonwealth ally, Canada also has a strong agricultural lobby that will be keen to open up British markets.

In 2021, the two countries traded nearly £12 billion worth of goods.

Already bound by a rollover agreement based on Canada’s pact with the EU, farmers on both sides are expected to see the biggest impact of the changes in terms: Canadian beef producers want to sell more to Britain, while British dairy exporters have an eye on Canadian markets.

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