WINNIPEG, Manitoba (B)--Representatives from Canada's three prairie provinces were in Bismarck, ND, Aug. 17 to express concern with regulations proposed for Canadian livestock exports, according to a Manitoba government news release.

The agriculture ministers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta said the regulations being developed by the North Dakota Board of Animal Health would restrict livestock exports from Canada into that state.

The proposed regulations, under North Dakota's Bill 1276, passed in 1999, would require testing of Canadian cattle for tuberculosis, brucellosis, bluetongue and anaplasmosis, despite Canada's disease-free status as recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Manitoba government said.

"These new regulations would essentially establish a non-tariff barrier and are contrary to the understanding drawn from the Northern Plains Conference held in Fargo last November," Manitoba Agriculture and Food Minister Rosann Wowchuk said in a prepared statement. "Bill 1276 would be inconsistent with NAFTA and the WTO."

The Manitoba government's press release said the meeting was another step in efforts that have been ongoing for more than a year to resolve the issue.

"North Dakota's new regulations could jeopardize all the recent efforts between Canada and the United States to harmonize health, pesticide and veterinary regulations," Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food Minister Clay Serby said in the release.

Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ty Lund added that the proposed regulations "represent a major hurdle" in creating greater regulatory harmonization. He said farmers and ranchers on both sides of the border have told their governments that harmonization is needed to improve their incomes.

The North Dakota Board of Animal Health will make its decision on the proposed rules in late September, the Manitoba government said.

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