Canadian Federal Finance Minister John Manley has warned that Canada may be forced to take action if the US does not soon resume imports of Canadian beef.

“We’ve all been talking with our counterparts,” Manley was quoted as saying by The Canadian Press. “I spoke to the ambassador as recently as today [Friday] just to make sure they understand we will soon have to take steps that will begin to reduce the degree of integration (of the two countries’ beef industries). That would be unfortunate.” 

Manley stressed that Japan was a major obstacle to a resumption in beef trade between Canada and the US. “The United States sells about a billion dollars worth of beef to Japan and the Japanese have insisted that they be satisfied there is no Canadian content in American beef going into that market,” he said. 

Manley’s comments came in response to a statement by Alberta Premier Ralph Klein saying that Canada may have to consider a boycott on US beef if the border does not reopen soon.