Russia opened its borders Thursday to B.C. beef.
But an industry representative said a much bigger boost to the regional industry is expected in January, when the Japanese market will expand dramatically.
Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz announced Thursday that Russia lifted its ban on breeding cattle from British Columbia. Cattle can be shipped from this province to the Asian country for the first time in five years.
The Conservative government says the measure is estimated at up to $8 million a year.
"This is excellent news for our cattle producers from British Columbia and recognizes Canada's increasingly strong trade relationship with Russia," Ritz said in a statement.
B.C. Cattlemen's Association general manager Kevin Boon predicted the change will mostly benefit B.C.'s dairy industry, which exports for breeding and genetics purposes.
The opening is the latest in a series of trade liberalization measures as Canada restores its reputation following discovery of BSE disease in cattle nearly a decade ago.
"The most significant one (trade opening) isn't completely through but will be by January," Boon said, adding expansion of the Japanese market to bone-in beef younger than 30 months will be "extremely significant" to local producers.
"We can virtually supply them with whatever we want."
The market was previously restricted to bone-out beef younger than 20 months.
Beef prices started an upswing several years ago following a long slide in wake of the BSE discovery.
David Haywood-Farmer, president of B.C. Cattlemen's Association, is scheduled to leave Saturday on an agricultural trade mission to China and Japan.
The local beef industry also played host earlier this week to a delegation from the Five Nations Beef Alliance, where members toured ranches including Douglas Lake Ranch and Guichon Ranch.
The group is comprised of beef-producing nations with trading linkages that export to many of the same countries.
Boon said the trade mission and local hosting of the beef group are more examples of the increasing need for international expansion.