Canadian beef producers applaud new NAFTA implementation


The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) applauds today’s entry into force of the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and looks forward to the continued growth of the benefits of free trade. CCA thanks all those involved in negotiating the agreement and the stewarding of the agreement through the respective government processes in a time sensitive manner.

For three decades, the cattle and beef producers in Mexico, Canada, and the United States (U.S.) have competed and prospered under the trade framework of NAFTA. Under the new NAFTA, Canada’s beef producers will continue to enjoy the benefits of duty-free trade and market-driven demands for beef, live cattle and genetics.

“In the face of the economic hardships of COVID-19, it is timely and welcome that the new NAFTA enters into force, providing the continuation of economic stability for our rural communities, food systems, and the broader North American economy,” states Bob Lowe, CCA President.

In addition to preserving duty-free trade in live cattle and beef, CCA is pleased that the existing rules of origin and the vital dispute settlement provisions remain intact, allowing us to continue to build on the success we have all enjoyed as partners under NAFTA. Following implementation, CCA encourages further regulatory cooperation and efforts to advance coordinated supply chains across all three countries.

The CCA continues to encourage the Government of Canada to create new opportunities for beef exports.  International trade agreements and market access are crucial to the beef processors, ranchers, allied manufacturers and companies in the food supply chain and will positively impact both the agricultural sector and the broader Canadian economy.

The benefit of a strong beef industry is also not only economical in nature, but also environmental. The North American beef industries protect through sustainable use, the at-risk great plains ecosystem. Here in Canada, beef producers protect and sustainably utilize 44.2 million acres of grasslands.

The implementation of the original NAFTA led to a significant growth in jobs and contribution to the Canadian GDP by the beef industry. Canadian beef exports to the U.S. grew 67 per cent in volume and 338 per cent in value from 190,000 tonnes valued at $530 million in 1995 to 317,000 tonnes valued at $2.3 billion in 2019. Similarly, beef exports to Mexico grew 15 times in volume and 32 times in value from 1,000 tonnes valued at $3.7 million in 1995 to 16,500 tonnes valued at $126 million in 2019. Impressive growth attributed to NAFTA was also experienced in the U.S. and Mexico.

The CCA will continue to be an advocate for rules-based, stable international trade. The experience of the beef cattle industries of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. under NAFTA is a testament to the value of trade agreements and their ability to assist our nation in post-COVID-19 recovery.


The Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas (CNOG), the CCA, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) sent a joint letter today to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and President Donald Trump to offer congratulations on the successful implementation of the new NAFTA. Click here to read the letter.


Quick facts

  • The beef industry is Canada’s largest agriculture sector, contributing $17 billion to GDP, while generating 228,000 jobs with further growth on the horizon.
  • Every job in the Canadian beef sector yields another 3.56 jobs elsewhere in our economy.
  • Canadian beef is sold into 58 markets around the world, on average exporting 50 per cent of what is produced in Canada.
  • The U.S. is Canada’s largest market and Mexico is the fourth largest market.
  • Beef producers protect and sustainably use the North American grassland ecosystem. Within Canada alone the grassland ecosystem stores 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon.



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