Gib Drury, chairman of Canada Beef Export Federation, said tallow sales will start soon.
Brad Wilderman, president of Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said exports to Asia have grown.
BEIJING: Canada is optimistic of achieving a breakthrough in its negotiations with China this year for sale of beef products, according to Gib Drury, chairman of Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF).
"The efforts made by us in this regard (beef exports) have been encouraging," Drury told China Daily in an interview yesterday in Beijing.
"We expect to make a beginning in this regard by selling beef tallow in the Chinese market soon," he said.
The CBEF made a breakthrough in Hong Kong after the region lifted its six-year ban on Canadian beef in December 2009.
CBEF is now looking to expand its reach to the mainland market, which has more than 1.3 billion consumers.
The organization on Monday held a roundtable in Beijing to evolve new strategies and develop the market for premium beef in China, said Brad Wildeman, president of Canadian Cattlemen's Association. Other high profile representatives at the meeting included Gerry Ritz, the agriculture minister of Canada.
CBEF has set a target of selling more than half of its annual 800,000 tons of beef exports to Asian and Mexican markets by 2015. The organization accounts for over 90 percent of the Canadian beef-processing industry, said Drury.
It plans to export 37,000 tons of beef to the Chinese market by 2015, he added.
Canada has a cattle population of 14 million. CBEF figures show that during the first seven months of last year, Canada exported 13,800 tons of beef to the Asian and Mexican markets, valued at 332 million yuan.
"Beef exports to the Asian markets have been witnessing double-digit growth in the past few years," Wildeman said.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) confirmed that China is in talks with both the Canada and the United States for beef imports.
China had banned beef imports from Canada in 2003 due to "mad cow disease". "Negotiations between China and Canada on beef imports is now ongoing," said AQSIQ official Bi Kexin.
Beef imports will have a negative impact on the domestic players, said Xin Guochang, division director of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture. Beef output last year was about unchanged over that in 2008, he said.
China's beef output reached 6.1 million tons in 2008, a year-on-year decrease of 0.5 percent, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Foreign Agricultural Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (FAS) expects China to become a net importer of beef this year. FAS said this is largely due to the estimated decrease in the live cattle population and the 5 percent fall in Chinese beef output.
The nation's beef imports are set to grow 30 percent this year to 30,000 tons, with most of the shipments coming from Australia, Uruguay and New Zealand, said FAS.
However, the United States Department of Agriculture said an additional 100,000 tons of beef enters China every year through gray channels, mainly from Brazil and the US.