Calgary

European trade deal could be $600M boost for Alberta beef producers

It still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament and the legislature of every European Union member state, but the newly signed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Europe and Canada is welcome news for Alberta beef producers.

Pact still has to be ratified by European Parliament and all member-state legislatures

Canada could supply about one per cent of the EU's beef needs under the new trade pact, which could mean $600 million in new revenue, says the Alberta Beef Producers. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

It still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament and the legislature of every European Union member state, but the newly signed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Europe and Canada could be welcome news for Alberta beef producers. 

"Every market for beef that we can open up is a good market," said Didsbury-area farmer Ernie Israelson.

Ernie Israelson, a cattle rancher near Didsbury, says any market that can be opened up is a good market. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

He welcomes the deal and said Alberta farmers can make it work as long as the financial incentives are there.

"I think with a lot of producers it's a wait and see kind of situation," he said.

No growth hormones allowed

After being shut out of most of the European market for decades, Canada could be poised to supply about one per cent of the EU's beef needs under the new pact.

It's not expected to transform the Canadian industry, but Rich Smith with the Alberta Beef Producers said it could mean $600 million in revenue.

The deal requires that beef to be free of growth hormone additives, something Smith said shouldn't pose a problem for most producers.

"There are already producers raising beef without the use of hormone implants, and certainly as the market for that type of beef grows, those producers will grow to meet that market," he said. 

With files from Dave Gilson

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