Members of the International Beef Alliance (IBA), comprising the cattle producer organizations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States held our annual conference via webinar on the 12th and 13th of October 2020. Together we provide 47% of global beef production and 66% of exports.
We issue the following statement regarding the international trade in beef in 2020:
“2020 has been a difficult year for cattle producers with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting beef production, processing and trade throughout the world. While the cattle and beef sectors in some IBA countries have been severely affected, we have adapted our risk management procedures and continue to produce safe, healthy and nutritious beef products.
COVID-19 highlighted the importance of international food trade in achieving food security and economic prosperity. The past six months have proven that we are a critical part of an interconnected global food supply chain, and beef cattle producers remain staunchly committed to improving the wellbeing of people, our animals, and the environment.
The contribution of IBA members to global food security cannot be understated. We reiterate the importance of free and open markets that allow consumers to access supplies of safe, nutritious and sufficient food. Trade distortions such as export restrictions, import tariffs, tariff-rate quotas and non-tariff barriers impede this matching of demand with supply. As a result of COVID-19, we have seen measures put in place that restricts both exports and imports, making it more difficult for consumers to access food. We support the removal of these trade barriers as soon as possible.
In particular, we are deeply concerned at the imposition of border testing for COVID-19 that is not based on international Codex standards. While we understand the pressure that governments face to keep citizens safe, the IBA calls for the use of risk-based measures grounded in sound science and aligned to international standards.
The IBA also welcomes the changes made by many countries to improve food trade and food security by lowering or removing trade barriers; adopting electronic certification in place of paper documentation; maintaining supply chains and enhancing the facilitation of food trade at the border, and providing greater transparency in measures affecting agricultural production and trade.
It is imperative that we work together to ensure consumers have continued access to high quality, safe products, and we accordingly urge all countries to work to reduce and remove all barriers to food trade, enhance the transparency and functioning of food supply chains, and ensure that all countries adopt measures that are based on internationally recognized scientific standards.”