Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced a major trade agreement has been reached between the U.S. and Mexico.

“After more than four years of banned beef cattle exports to Mexico, I am pleased to report the stalemate is over. The U.S. and Mexican governments have come to an agreement on exporting breeding beef cattle to Mexico consistent with the guidelines of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE),” Commissioner Staples said.

On March 4, 2008, Commissioner Staples issued an order banning the movement of Canadian cattle through TDA export facilities along the Mexican border. This action came after Mexico signed an agreement with Canada that allowed for a more lucrative trade of Canadian cattle than what had been allowed with U.S. cattle producers. Officials in New Mexico, Arizona and California joined Commissioner Staples in this effort.

“After communicating with my fellow state agriculture directors in Arizona, New Mexico and California about this monumental progress, we are joining together to lift our ban on Canadian cattle that are shipped through our states.” Commissioner Staples said.

On March 7, Commissioner Staples received word Mexico had submitted an offer to re-establish cattle trade with the U.S. And now, less than four weeks after the March 4 action, U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators have announced an agreement establishing consistent trade relationships for breeding cattle.

“This agreement restores a market worth more than $80 million to Texas cattlemen. I commend Texas ranchers for their persistence in obtaining this long overdue deal to reestablish live cattle trade relations with Mexico,” Commissioner Staples said. “I personally thank U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer for the diligence both he and his staff at USDA have shown on this important issue.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the new protocol will take affect Friday, March 28, 2008.

In December 2003, a single Canadian-born cow in the state of Washington was confirmed to have Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Since then, the U.S. has worked with Mexico as well as trading partners around the world to re-establish beef and live cattle trade consistent with international standards. Several countries have recognized those standards and are accepting U.S. live cattle. In May 2007, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) formally classified the U.S. as a controlled risk country for BSE. This classification, combined with strong U.S. regulatory safeguards, allows broad trade of cattle consistent with international standards.

Texas is the nation’s leader in the number of cattle and calves and the industry represents a $7.4 billion value to the Texas economy.