Red Meat Industry Urges Resumption of Canada-South Korea Free Trade Discussions

Farmscape for October 25, 2011   (Episode 3991)

In the wake of the ratification of a U.S. free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea, Canada's red meat industry is again urging Ottawa to resume negotiations aimed at securing a Canada-South Korea free trade agreement.

Under terms of a South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement ratified by the U.S. Congress earlier this month, import duties on U.S. pork entering South Korea will be phased out over ten years.

The Canadian Pork Council, Canada Pork International, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and the Canadian Meat Council are urging the Government of Canada to resume talks that have been stalled since 2008 aimed at securing a Canada-South Korea free trade agreement.

Canadian Pork Council president Jurgen Preugschas says the impact of the U.S. deal on Canada's ability to access that market will be immediate.

Clip-Jurgen Preugschas-Canadian Pork Council:
The agreement is to take effect early 2012 and once that happens there's an immediate reduction of tariffs on American product going in.

Once that happens then of course we're immediately at that percentage point below and then over the term of the agreement those tariffs are going to drop to zero.

Even if we get an agreement at a later date we'll always be behind so what that means for Canadian processors and traders is that they're not going to be able to compete to bring product over there.

What they're already realizing is that South Korean buyers want to establish long term relationships and they're establishing those with the Europeans and the Americans in light of the fact that those free trade deals are there so already it's affecting our Canadian traders.

Preugschas says every day we wait it costs the Canadian pork industry money so the sooner Canada can get back to the table and finalize an agreement, the lower the negative impact will be so time is of the essence.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council