The president of the Canadian Pork Council says Canada's pork exporters are already experiencing resistance from customers in South Korea as a result of Canada's lack of a free trade agreement with that nation.
While free trade negotiations between Canada and the Republic of Korea have been stalled since 2008 Canada's major competitors in the pork industry, including the United States, the European Union and Chile, have negotiated their own free trade agreements with South Korea.
Last month a coalition of Canadian agricultural commodity groups called on the provinces to pressure the federal government to resume talks.
Canadian Pork Council president Jurgen Preugschas says South Korea has been Canada's third or fourth largest customer the past number of years and might be higher this year due to the increased pork demand due to foot and mouth disease.
Clip-Jurgen Preugschas-Canadian Pork Council:
Some of our exporters are saying already that it's more difficult to market there even though at the present time there are no tariffs because they've waived the tariffs due to their foot and mouth outbreak but they quite understand that -- these countries that have free trade deals -- they want to build relationships with those companies and our exporters are finding more difficulty in selling there than some of the other countries are.
I was, last week, at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture semi-annual meeting and they passed a motion there to pressure the government as well because it affects not only pork but it virtually affects all our major agricultural exports.
If our government is interested in supporting agriculture they need to see that it gets done.
It's quite disturbing if our Conservative government that has so many seats in western Canada seems to be ignoring it.
Preugschas says we need to keep putting pressure on the government re-open those talks and make them a priority.