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Canada, Korea breakthrough in restoring beef market access

OTTAWA - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast recently announced a breakthrough in restoring access to the lucrative South Korean beef market.

Canada and South Korea will now work to finalize the science based agreement to export Canadian beef under 30 months of age back into South Korea - the last key Asian market still imposing a trade ban on Canadian beef.

“After almost a decade, Canadian beef producers are on track to gain access to the lucrative South Korean market, making our industry and entire economy stronger,” said Ritz.

“The high quality of our beef products combined with the effectiveness and transparency of Canada’s control system is precisely the reason why South Korea can be confident in the safety of Canada’s beef.”

Fast added, “South Korea, as one of Canada’s most important trade and investment partners in the Asia-Pacific region, offers tremendous opportunity for workers and businesses in important sectors across Canada. This important step towards restored access is welcome news. On behalf of Canadian producers we will be closely monitoring South Korea’s domestic process.”

Canada and South Korea resolved technical issues and will continue to collaborate until the agreement is fully implemented. South Korea began its domestic process of submitting the proposed import health requirements, which includes public consultations and legislative approval, on June 28.

Canadian and South Korean officials will continue to work to ensure the remaining elements of the process are completed.

The Canadian Beef Export Federation (CBEF) estimated that the agreement could mean more than $30-million for Canadian producers by 2015.

In 2002, South Korea was Canada’s fourth biggest beef market and remains a key market for the Canadian agriculture sector.

Ritz has travelled to South Korea twice to push for the removal of the trade barrier by delivering a strong message that Canada maintains a “controlled BSE risk” status by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) allowing safe trade of beef.

After Canada’s numerous attempts to negotiate access to South Korea for Canadian beef, Canada requested the establishment of a WTO panel in August 2009. Although confident in its WTO case against South Korea, Canada continued to negotiate a possible bilateral settlement that would provide commercially viable access to South Korea.

With the agreement achieved with South Korea, Canada will formally request a suspension of the ongoing WTO panel proceedings once South Korea submitted the import health requirements for public consultation on June 28, with remaining steps to take place in the coming months.



July 29, 2011


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