WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Vietnam has lifted its eight-year-old ban on Canadian live breeding cattle, sheep and goats, becoming the first Asian country to do so since a 2003 discovery of mad cow disease, Canada’s trade and agriculture ministers said on Sunday.
The move, which takes effect immediately, gives Canada a share in a market worth C$50 million, International Trade Minister Ed Fast said in a statement, praising the economic impact of closer ties with Southeast Asia.
Vietnam reopened to Canadian beef last year.
Nearly all countries that had banned Canadian beef since 2003 have agreed to resume imports. China agreed last year partly to reopen Canadian access but commercial shipments have not yet restarted.
The last major holdout, South Korea, said in June that it would partly resume imports of Canadian beef by the end of the year.
Mad cow disease, also called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a fatal disease of the nervous system of cattle. The 2003 discovery of BSE in a western Canadian herd devastated Canada’s ranchers, slamming export markets shut to the third-largest beef shipper.
“Our government is focused on completing the economic recovery by opening new markets for Canadian goods and services,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said.