International Beef Alliance
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Members of the International Beef Alliance (IBA), comprising the cattle producer organizations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States, met in Calgary from 16-21 September 2018. The membership of the Alliance, which also includes Paraguay, accounts for over 60% of the world’s traded beef. With an increasingly disruptive global trade environment, the Alliance reconfirmed its commitment to trade reform and liberalization, the elimination of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers and the value of facilitating trade.

The membership recognized the importance of the rules-based trading system in creating a more level playing field for traders and in encouraging the harmonization of rules that are transparent, science-based and facilitative. In this respect, the rules-based system has made a significant contribution to the prosperity of the global beef value chain by allowing beef producers to sell their products to the world. Trade also contributes to ensuring that consumers are able to choose from a range of products and price. IBA members agreed to work together and with their respective governments to support the work of international organizations such as the OIE – World Organization for Animal Health, Codex Alimentarius (Codex) and the WTO – World Trade Organization on issues of mutual interest including standard setting and SPS measures – Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement for WTO.

Members also recognized the potential challenges that Brexit may present to the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union’s (EU) trading partners and the considerable uncertainty that may result. IBA members saw Brexit as a potential opportunity for greater trade liberalization and stronger trade relationships. The IBA strongly encourages both the UK and EU to undertake open consultations in good faith with all WTO Members to honor their legal obligations.

Those IBA Members who are also party to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) welcomed Mexico’s early ratification thereof and agreed to work together to encourage other CPTPP members to complete their domestic processes as soon as possible and ideally within the 2018 calendar year. On non-tariff barriers (NTBs), the IBA was unanimous in calling for alleviation of unscientific and unjustified impediments. Members agreed to support an approach on NTBs that recognize their significant distortionary and costly impact on trade and to work collectively, where appropriate, in seeking to remove these NTBs.

In addition to trade, the IBA is an important vehicle for sharing information about the challenges and trends facing the global industry, to ensure that beef remains positioned as a premium and preferred protein. IBA’s Young Beef Leaders presented on alternative proteins focusing their discussion on regulatory issues and product perception. Key conclusions were that alternative proteins need to be regulated and labeled in a truthful manner. Furthermore, as producers we need to enhance our natural protein story.

The IBA reaffirmed the importance of environmental stewardship that helps drive profitability and integrity of beef production. The IBA Membership looks forward to being hosted by Brazil for the 2019 IBA Conference.